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The New Arab Staff

Assad holds talks with Russian foreign minister in Damascus

Lavrov has played a key role in the Syria war [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 September, 2020

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Lavrov is in Damascus for the first time since 2012.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks with leading Syrian regime officials, the country's state news agency reported.

Lavrov met with Bashar Al-Assad shortly after he arrived in Damascus, the Russian minister's first visit to the Syrian capital since 2012.

Syrian media showed Assad, wearing a mask, escorting the Russian delegation through the presidential palace to a reception room before talks are held.

Also in the Russian entourage was deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, a former deputy defence minister, who arrived in Syria a day earlier.

Among the issues that will be discussed are the war in Syria, the Covid-19 outbreak, and talks on a new Syrian constitution, according to Russian analysts.

Later in the afternoon, Lavrov will meet his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.

Russia has been a key ally of the Syrian regime since war broke out there in 2011, after anti-government protests were brutally suppressed, sparking a wider uprising.

Moscow entered the war in support of Assad in 2015, carrying out thousands of airstrikes that have helped the regime push-back against a rebel advance.

Russia is said to be increasingly frustrated with Assad and the bankrupt regime, and has pushed for talks on a new constitution, which will include some elements of the opposition.

The war in Syria has killed over 500,000 people and forced half the population from their homes.

Lavrov has been one of Russia's most high-profile figures representing it on the world stage during the war in Syria.

In 2017, Lavrov visited Russia's airbase in western Syria.


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