Assad Meets Putin in a Surprise Visit to Russian Federation

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Syrian President Bashar Assad has flown to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin at his summer residence.

"After the military success (of the Syrian army in recent months) supplementary conditions have been created which favour the start of a political process on a major scale", Mr Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin following the meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

The Russian president said the terrorists have laid down their arms in key locations in Syria, allowing for the restoration of Syrian infrastructure.

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Authorities had not found an explosive device Tuesday night but were searching through debris that was left after the blast. One woman, who had skin peeling on her arm from burns, said, "Take care of my mother", McWilliams said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

In remarks cited by the Kremlin, Putin congratulated the Syrian leader on what he said were significant successes on the battlefield achieved by the Syrian military.

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A foreign ministry statement carried by the official Wafa news agency said the decision "follows the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds (Jerusalem)".

Russia, Iran and Turkey have been attempting to resolve the conflict in the talks that started past year in Astana in competition with a U.S. and UN-backed Geneva initiative.

"I have always said, and I want to reiterate that we have always enthusiastically supported a political process that should proceed hand-in-hand with fight against terrorism", Assad for his part said. "However, we will continue to move steadily toward the peace process and for the sake of peace", Assad stressed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western attacks in the country removed any moral obstacle to arming Syria.

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Haspel - who would replace now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the role - has gotten support from lawmakers on the left. She is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as next week, although that vote likely also will be close.

But rebel factions still control large parts of northwestern and southwestern Syria, while a Kurdish-led alliance backed by the United States holds most of the northeast.

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