Putin: Russian warships will remain off Syria

Posted May 18, 2018

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russian city of Sochi.

The Russian President said military success in Syria allows a large-scale political process leading to withdraw of foreign forces and reconstruction of country.

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin travelled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Assad informed Putin of his decision to "send a delegation to the U.N." to discuss reforming the country's constitution.

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The latest round of Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana wrapped up on Tuesday, but did not however make any concrete progress towards ending the seven-year conflict that has cost 350,000 lives.

Russian Federation is a key ally of Assad and has provided support which has allowed the Syrian regime to make territorial gains in recent months against rebels.

Russian television broadcast short clips from the two men's discussion.

Meanwhile, Assad said that many positive changes have taken place as the areas under the control of terrorists arena in Syria have become smaller.

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Last month, the United States, Britain and France carried out attacks on military positions of the Assad government in reaction to its alleged use of chemical weapons.

Official sources said the two leaders will meet for around four to six hours for the "agendaless" talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.

More than 30,000 people have left northern Homs and southern Hama in the past few days alone, while the majority of the displaced were from the eastern Ghouta suburbs near Damascus.

Information for this article was contributed by Sarah El Deeb and Albert Aji of The Associated Press.

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