Assad meets Putin in Sochi on future peace talks

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Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Syrian Bashar al-Assad held talks in Sochi yesterday, the Kremlin's Acting Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said upon completion of the meeting.

"Of course, after this military success, additional conditions have been created to restart a full-format political process", he said at talks with Assad on Thursday.

Since fighting broke out in Syria in 2011, the Syrian president has traveled three times to Russian Federation for talks with Putin - visits that underscored Moscow's status as Assad's chief backer.

The leaders met in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Thursday, Russian news agency TASS reported.

Mr Putin also congratulated Mr Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups".

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. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Mr Assad's regime, it changed the course of the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar Assad in Sochi Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Syrian President Bashar Assad in Sochi Russia

Putin said the next task is "economic recovery and humanitarian assistance to the people who found themselves in a hard situation". The UN has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict. They will be sent to the United Nations, it is on the basis of the Geneva process.

According to the Kremlin statement, Assad said "stability is improving" in Syria, "opening the door to the political process we started some time ago".

Assad assured that the country returns to stability and it promotes the political process begun earlier. "But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process", Mr Assad was quoted as saying in the statement.

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

It said that Russian Federation welcomes and supports this decision based on agreements reached in national dialogue meetings in Sochi.

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