MOSCOW, Sept. 14 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin received Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Moscow for the first time since 2015 on Monday and criticized foreign troops die in Syria without UN mandate, Kremlin said in a reprimand of the United States and Turkey.
Assad’s most powerful rose in the ten-year conflict in Syria, Putin last received the Syrian leader in Russia in 2018 in his summer residence in the seaside resort on the Black Sea of Sochi.
Russia air force played a critical role in turn the tide of the Syrian conflict in Assad’s favor after it was deployed there in 2015, giving him back most of the territory lost to insurgents.
However, important parts of Syria remain out of state control, with Turkish troops deployed in a lot of of the north and northwest – the last important bastion of anti-Assad rebels – and US troops in the Kurdish-controlled east and northeast.
Assad, who has also was supported by Iran during the conflict, made few trips abroad since the begin from the war in 2011.
Putin told Assad that foreign troops in Syria without UN decision were an obstacle to its consolidation, the Kremlin said. Putin also congratulated him on win a fourth term in office in a presidential election in Can.
“Terrorists have suffered very serious damage, and the Syrian government, led by you, controls 90% of the areas,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement.
Kremlin said Assad thanked Russian leader for humanitarian aid to Syria and for his efforts to stop the “spread” of terrorism”.
He praised what he success of Russian and Syrian armies in “liberate occupied territories” of Syria.
Assad also described as “anti-human” and “unlawful” sanctions imposed by some countries on Syria.
The United States has tightened sanctions against Syria last year, saying they were meant to force Assad to stop the war and in to vote met a political solution.
Syrian state news SANA agency said the two leaders discussed cooperation between the Syrian and Russian armies in “fighting terrorism and completing the Liberation of the land that is still under control of terrorist organizations”.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Tom Perry; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel
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