Syria’s Assad pays surprise visit to Moscow

Moscow, Oct 21 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew to Moscow on his first foreign visit since Syria’s civil war broke out in 2011, and held talks with his main backer and counterpart Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said on Wednesday.

Russia launched air strikes in Syria last month against the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups battling Assad’s forces, reports BBC.

Assad said Russia’s involvement had stopped “terrorism” becoming “more widespread and harmful” in Syria.

Putin said Moscow’s hope, in providing a “positive dynamic in the fighting”, was that a “long term resolution can be achieved on the basis of a political process with the participation of all political forces, ethnic and religious groups”.

The Kremlin, which kept the visit quiet until Wednesday morning, did not say whether the Syrian leader was still in Moscow or had returned home.

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