Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Russia on an unannounced visit on Tuesday and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.
Putin at the meeting with Assad, congratulated him on the victory in the presidential election in May, noting that Syrian residents associate the return to normal life with Assad.
“I am very glad to welcome you to Moscow again. And first of all I would like to congratulate you on your recent birthday,” Putin said at the beginning of the meeting.
“And, of course, in a personal format – with a very good result of the presidential elections. The results indicate that people trust you and, despite all the difficulties of previous years and the tragedies of previous years, they still associate the process of recovery and return to a normal life with you,” the Russian president added.
Hotbeds of terrorism still remain in Syria, Putin stated.
“Unfortunately, there are still hotbeds of resistance from terrorists who not only control some part of the territory, but also continue to terrorise civilians. Nevertheless, refugees are actively returning to the liberated areas. I saw with my own eyes when I was in Syria at your invitation, as people are actively restoring their homes, actively working to return in the full sense of the word to a peaceful life,” Putin said.
The joint efforts of Russia and Syria dealt a blow to terrorists; the Syrian government now controls more than 90% of the country’s territory, he added.
“Our joint efforts have liberated the main, overwhelming territory of the Syrian Republic. Terrorists have suffered very serious, significant damage, and the Syrian government, headed by you, controls 90% of the territory,” Putin continued.
Additionally, Putin pointed out that the illegal presence of foreign armed forces in Syria is preventing progress on the path towards consolidation of the country.
“The main problem, in my opinion, is that, after all, foreign armed forces are present in certain territories of the country without a United Nations decision and without your consent, which clearly contradicts international law and does not give you the opportunity to make maximum efforts to consolidate the country, in order to move along the path of its restoration at a pace that would be possible if the entire territory was controlled by the legitimate government,” Putin said.
Putin added that the Syrian leader is doing a lot to establish a dialogue with opponents and expressed the hope that the process will continue.
In turn, Assad said that Syria and Russia have achieved significant results in the fight against international terrorism.
“Our two armies, the Russian and the Syrian, have achieved significant results not only in the liberation of the occupied territories seized by militants and in the destruction of terrorism, but also facilitated the return of refugees who were forced to leave their homes, to leave their homeland,” Assad added.
“Considering the fact that international terrorism knows no borders, and spreads like an infection throughout the world, our armies, I can state, have made a huge contribution to protecting all mankind from this evil,” the Syria’s president noted.
The US and its allies have been conducting a ground military operation in war-torn Syria since 2014, supporting the rebels and the Syrian Democratic Forces. The Syrian government and its allies, Russia and Iran, have repeatedly slammed the US for keeping its troops deployed in the country illegally. Damascus and Moscow have also accused Washington of stealing Syria’s national resources and demanded that they cease such activities, but to no avail.
Russia has provided Syria with Sputnik V and Sputnik Light coronavirus vaccines to combat the pandemic, Putin said.
“We are working together to solve the main problem that all of humanity is facing today, I mean the fight against the coronavirus infection. The first deliveries of Sputnik V and Sputnik Light have arrived in Syria,” he added.