Iran’s Rouhani, Russia’s Putin Discuss Latest Developments in Syria

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation on Monday discussed the latest developments in Syria, the recent victories by the Arab country’s army against terrorist groups in particular.

“A detailed discussion was held on the Syrian issue, first and foremost in regard to the successful actions of the Syrian army, which was able to push Daesh extremists out of the historic city of Palmyra with the help of Russian Air Forces. It was noted that this was a truly significant event,” Kremlin said in a statement on Monday, Sputnik reported.

The two leaders also exchanged views on a number of bilateral issues and agreed to intensify bilateral contacts at various levels, according to the statement.

Early on Sunday, Syrian state television quoted a military source as saying the army had taken “complete control over the city of Palmyra”.

Palmyra, known as the “bride of the desert”, used to attract tens of thousands of tourists a year before the Syrian conflict started in 2011.

In May 2015, Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) took the city and later demolished some of its best-known monuments.

Capturing the city is a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

With Russian support, it has made steady gains in recent months against Daesh and other groups it is fighting.

Earlier this month, Putin ordered the withdrawal of some fighter jets from Syria, but said that strikes against Daesh and another group, the Nusra Front, would continue.

Those groups have been excluded from a Russian and US-brokered ceasefire that began on February 27 and has largely held.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with Takfiri terrorists, including Daesh, currently controlling parts of it, mostly in the east.

The Syrian conflict has killed at least 260,000 people, according to the UN, and more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.4 million has been internally displaced or fled abroad.