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Destructive duo Assad and Putin meet in Damascus amid tensions over Soleimani killing

Assad and Putin met in Damascus [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2020

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Putin met Assad during a surprise visit to Syria after nearly a decade of war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad Tuesday during a surprise visit to Damascus, his first since the start of the nearly nine-year war, the presidency said.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Damascus for a visit during which he met President Assad at the headquarters of the Russian forces," it said in a statement.

Putin said enormous progress had been made during the Assad talks, Russian news agencies reported.

"In his conversation with Assad, Putin noted that we can now say with confidence that a huge distance has been travelled towards restoring Syrian statehood and the country's territorial integrity," the agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

The blood-letting pair listened to a military presentation by the commander of Russian forces in Syria, said the presidency, which posted a picture of the two leaders shaking hands.

Putin extended his greetings to Russian forces for the Orthodox Christmas.

Putin had visited Syria in December 2017 but had not been to the capital, only stopping at the Russian base of Hmeimim on the Mediterranean coast.

Read also: Syrian regime detains children at Palestinian camp for allegedly tearing down Assad poster

For nearly a decade, both Assad and Putin have been slammed or a global scale for various crimes against Syrian civilians. The war has seen the regime side use chemical weapons, torture and indiscriminate bombing used against civilians.

The Syrian war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings.

This triggered an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.



Agencies contributed to this report.


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