President Vladimir Putin of Russia contacted Bashar al Assad of Syria, for a visit to Moscow to discuss a joint military effort and the ongoing political transition in Syria.
The New York Times reports that according to a transcript found on the Kremlin’s website, Putin and Assad met Tuesday, with Putin telling Assad that Russia was ready to help fight terrorism, but also to help settle political turmoil that has occurred in Syria for over four years. Assad briefed Russia’s leader on current efforts and future steps.
The visit was Assad’s first time leaving Syria since civil war broke out in the area, back in 2011. It highlighted the war has shifted intervention efforts from Russia.
Putin allegedly told Assad that the issues are linked between politics and military efforts. He emphasized that the Syrian people have the deciding voice in the issues.
Assad criticized Putin saying that earlier Russian intervention could have halted the spread of terrorism, and that political change can occur after the threat of terrorism is addressed. He demanded that the United States and countries in the area end their support for forces that are against his efforts.
The key focus of the conversation between the two leaders was the ongoing fight against terrorists in the area, and the support of Russia with the military operations in Syria.
The United States and other allies in the region do not see a place for Assad following any political transition that may take place. The difference in opinion between supporting countries have had a negative impact on political agreement negotiations.
This meeting was the first between the two leaders since at least 2007. Diplomats have stated that the meetings have been cold, and that there is little to no chemistry between the two of them.