Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was in Sochi yesterday for an unannounced meeting with his Russian counterpart. According to the Kremlin, Assad thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for sending aid to his country and “saving Syria.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with his Russian counterpart Monday in Sochi, Russia, the Kremlin stated Tuesday morning. During the discreet meeting, which lasted four hours, the two discussed the situation in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Assad on his “accomplishments in the fight against terrorism” and Assad explained that the Russian military aid “saved Syria.” The Kremlin added that Putin plans to speak with US President Donald Trump later today regarding the political crisis in Syria.

Putin and Assad agreed that once the military operation against the terrorist groups in Syria has come to an end, the search for a political solution to the conflict needs to begin. Assad thanked Putin and other senior Russian officials for aiding his country and said that he expects Moscow to prevent other countries and international organizations from interfering in the political process in Syria.

The Kremlin stressed that Putin said that the “fight against terrorism in Syria is almost over” and praised Assad’s commitment to resolving the crisis in his country “through peaceful means.” Putin added that he plans to send a Russian delegation to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that will meet with the Syrian opposition officials who object to Assad’s rule.

In addition to his plans to speak with Trump regarding the crisis, Putin will also discuss the matter with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and other leaders in the Middle East. The Russian president also commended “Assad’s commitment to cooperation with everyone in order to find a solution.” The Syrian president himself clarified that he is ready for a political dialogue at any given moment.