Syria's Assad Travels To Sochi For Talks With Putin

Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have hailed achievements in what they called the fight against terrorists in Syria.

A transcript of Thursday's meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting "terrorism", which "opens the door to the political process".

The situation in Syria is now favorable for the political process, Russia's president said late Thursday.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia. Assad said about it after completion of the talks, TASS reported. "Much has also been done within the framework of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi", he said.

"And of course, the next task is economic recovery and humanitarian assistance to the people who found themselves in a hard situation", the Russian president said.

Moscow has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war since 2015, ensuring the survival of a Middle Eastern ally and guaranteeing continued access to the strategically vital Mediterranean Sea.

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The two leaders discussed the ongoing clashes in Syria between pro-Assad forces and civilian rebels. He also visited Putin in Moscow in October 2015, soon after Russian Federation launched its military operation in Syria.

Syria's conflict began with mass protests against the Assad family's decades-long rule.

The opposition and its Western backers have demanded he step aside as part of a political transition, something the Syrian government has adamantly rejected.

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