Russian President Vladimir Putin received his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Moscow on Monday. The visit, which has only been made public this Tuesday, is the first of the Syrian leader to his great ally, Russia, since 2018, when he traveled to Sochi, and the first in the Kremlin since 2015. At the meeting, in which he showed Again his support for Assad, Putin charged against the presence of “foreign forces” in Syria “without the decision of the UN”, referring to the United States and Turkey, and that they are an “obstacle” to the “consolidation” of the country.
Although after a decade of atrocious war, and with the significant support of the Russian air force – which was instrumental in turning the tide of the Syrian conflict since 2015 – Assad now has control of most of the territory, there remains one last A major rebel stronghold in the north and northeast, where Turkish forces are deployed, and a small contingent of US forces remains in the Kurdish-controlled northeast, removing the Damascus regime from much of the country’s oil resources.
Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally, praised the Syrian leader and congratulated him on the result of the elections last May, held with a lack of transparency and observers, the opposition in exile and criticized by the international community, with which Assad , which claimed victory with 95% of the votes, has tried to legitimize the military victory at the polls after a decade of civil strife.
Moscow, which along with Iran supports Assad, has repeatedly demanded that Washington and Ankara withdraw their forces from Syria. His presence, Putin has insisted before the Syrian leader, is “the main problem” of the country. “Thanks to our joint efforts, most of Syria’s territory has been overwhelmingly liberated,” the Russian president said, according to the Kremlin transcript of the meeting, which was later joined by the Syrian foreign minister and the minister. Defense Ministry, according to Syrian state television.
Putin, with a great appetite to expand the Russian figure on the global geopolitical board and who has tried to establish himself as an arbitrator in the conflict in the region, visited Assad in Syria in January last year, when he also met with part of Russian troops stationed in that Middle Eastern country where Russia has an air base in the coastal city of Latakia and a large naval contingent based in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.
In recent weeks, Syrian opposition activists have claimed that Russian warplanes have been carrying out strikes in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the war-torn country that has killed half a million and killed. millions of displaced people and refugees. Some four million people now live in the area, many of them displaced there from other parts of Syria due to the conflict.
Assad, who has not regularly made trips outside of Syria since the conflict began in 2011, thanked Russia for its support and accused “certain states” of obstructing peace talks and exercising “destructive influence” also through sanctions. economic. Putin and Assad also discussed cooperation between their armies and how to continue operations to take control of the last rebel-held areas, Syrian state media reported.
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