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Assad in surprise Putin meeting ahead of Moscow’s talks with Turkey, Iran

Syria's Bashar Assad made a surprise visit to Russia to express thanks for Moscow’s help in the fight against terrorism. At a meeting with President Putin, which began with an embrace, the leaders discussed the Syrian political settlement ahead of Moscow's talks with Iran and Turkey.

       

The visit by President Assad to the Black Sea resort of Sochi was not revealed until Tuesday, after he had already left Russia. Footage and photos released by the Kremlin after the event show the Syrian leader, dressed in a dark grey suit and light grey tie, embracing Vladimir Putin and shaking his hand on the porch of a presidential residence in the southern Russian city. The two leaders then moved inside for a photo op and formal greeting speeches, before a nearly three-hour round of talks behind closed doors. Afterwards, Putin took his Syrian guest to meet Russian generals who were in Sochi to take part in defense-related government talks.

 

“I’d like to introduce you to the people who played a key part in saving Syria,” Putin told Assad as he introduced the men in green uniforms. “Of course, Mr. Assad knows some of you personally. He told me during our talks today that thanks to the Russian Army, Syria has been saved as a state.”

Assad used the opportunity to relay the gratitude of his government and the Syrian people to those involved in the two-year operation in the war-torn nation. “I would like to underline the effort made by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the sacrifices they have made,” he said.

Research, arrests, witnesses, open and classified analysis all indicate clearly that IS’s popularity is growing and that even Israeli Arabs are actually joining up with it.” Vigilance along Israel’s borders may not be enough. Subscribe to the Economist to read the full content.

February, 7, 2016

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