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Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin

18 May 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad traveled to Sochi, Russia, to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

The Russian president said: "Given the victories and successes of the Syrian army in the war on terror, in light of the onset of a more active period, and in light of the fact that a more active political process has begun, foreign armed forces will start leaving Syrian territory".

A transcript of the meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting "terrorism", which "opens the door to the political process".

Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin
Putin, Assad hail achievements in Syria

Critics of Russia's action, among them the United States and European states, say it is propping up an Assad leadership that has lost its legitimacy, and that its air strikes have killed large numbers of civilians.

Putin told Assad that in the light of success of the Syrian army foreign forces should be withdrawn from the war-torn country.

"The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Putin added.

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The latest round of Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana wrapped up on May 15, but did not however make any concrete progress towards ending the seven-year conflict that has cost 350,000 lives.

The U.S., meanwhile, has backed rebels and Kurdish forces that oppose Assad's rule.

"Russian Federation welcomes this decision by the Syrian president and will be supporting it in every way, given the agreements reached during the Congress of the Syrian people held in Sochi several months ago", Putin said.

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It said the two also discussed economic cooperation and growing investments by Russian companies in Syria.

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Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin