Syria's Assad meets with Putin in Russian Federation

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Putin held talks with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, ahead of his meetings with European leaders.

Since fighting broke out in his country in 2011, Assad has traveled only rarely but has made three publicly-acknowledged visits to Russian Federation, each time for meetings with Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Sochi on May 17, 2018.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

"I have always said, and I want to reiterate that we have always enthusiastically supported a political process that should proceed hand-in-hand with fight against terrorism", Assad for his part said.

Assad assured that the country returns to stability and it promotes the political process begun earlier.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting, which had not been announced in advance, took place on Thursday.

Bashar al-Assad has travelled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin
Putin, Assad hail achievements in Syria

Assad said the areas controlled by terrorists have substantially diminished. Russian Federation says it never targets civilian areas.

Putin told Assad that in the light of success of the Syrian army foreign forces should be withdrawn from the war-torn country.

"After these military successes, additional conditions have doubtless been created for the renewal of a fully fledged political process", he was quoted as saying.

He said "terrorists have laid down arms in Syria's key points, which has made it possible to rebuild Syria's infrastructure, push them back, and practically stop their activity close to the Syrian capital".

Assad was making his second visit to see Putin in Sochi.

Since fighting broke out in Syria in 2011, the Syrian president has traveled three times to Russian Federation for talks with Putin - visits that underscored Moscow's status as Assad's chief backer.

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