Putin, Al-Assad Meet in Russia's Sochi

Putin, Al-Assad Meet in Russia's Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, where they are expected to discuss the Iran deal, Syria, Ukraine and more.

Turkey, Russia, and Iran have reached an agreement on holding the next high-level meeting on Syria in Russian resort city of Sochi in July 2018.

Russian Federation has been involved in Syria's civil war since September 2015.

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Observers believed Assad's visit to Sochi proved the support provided from Moscow to the Syrian regime, and deemed a Russian attempt to stop the military escalation between Damascus and Tel Aviv.

Putin congratulated Assad on what he said were considerable achievements by the Syrian armed forces against terrorist units.

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 towards ending the conflict.

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"Stability is improving, and all that opens the doors to the political process, which we started a while ago", Assad told Putin, according to a transcript of the opening remarks from the meeting posted on the Kremlin website.

"We know that the political process will not be easy, since there are countries that do not want stability to Syria. 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.

They said issues on the table may include economic impact on India and Russian Federation in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the situation in Afghanistan, Syria, threat of terrorism and matters relating to upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS summits.

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De Mistura, speaking Wednesday to the UN Security Council's monthly meeting on the Syria conflict, described what he called the classic Syrian regime tactic of a bombardment of a rebel territory followed by negotiations and then mass evacuations from the defeated area.

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