Assad meets with Putin in Russian Federation

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Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russian Federation to meet President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at his summer residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Bashar Al-Assad told his Russian counterpart about Syria's progress in fighting terrorism.

The Russian president said: "Given the victories and successes of the Syrian army in the war on terror, in light of the onset of a more active period, and in light of the fact that a more active political process has begun, foreign armed forces will start leaving Syrian territory".

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin traveled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there.

Russian Federation launched an air campaign on behalf of President Bashar Assad in 2015, helping to turn the tide of the war in his favor.

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"The next task, of course, is the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Putin added.

"After these military successes, additional conditions have doubtless been created for the renewal of a fully fledged political process", he was quoted as saying.

This assumes significance against the backdrop of the challenge posed to India-Russia defence partnership by impending United States sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the controversial Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Regime forces recaptured Ghouta from rebels last month after a ferocious offensive that displaced tens of thousands, both to government-controlled zones around Damascus and to opposition-held parts of northern Syria.

The visit comes on the eve of a meeting in Sochi between Mr Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the first face-to-face talk of the year between the veteran leaders.

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