Putin meets with Assad, declares Syria ready for 'political process'

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan Hubei province China 27 April 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan Hubei province China 27 April 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad has flown to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin at his summer residence.

According to the report, Putin congratulated Assad on the "big achievement" recorded by the Syrian army in the war against terrorism.

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin traveled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Mr Assad's regime, it changed the course of the war. The UN has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict.

"We know it will not be easy because some countries do not want stability to return to Syria. But with you and other partners and friends, we will continue to make strong progress in the peace process", Assad was quoted as saying in the statement.

Putin said that along with giving a boost to a political process, it is important "to take necessary steps towards rebuilding the Syrian economy, as well as settle long-pending hard, but pressing humanitarian issues".

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It said the two also discussed economic cooperation and growing investments by Russian companies in Syria.

But rebel factions still control large parts of northwestern and southwestern Syria, while a Kurdish-led alliance backed by the United States holds most of the northeast.

But the special envoy noted that half of the people in the northern rebel province of Idlib had already fled from other parts of Syria, "and will have nowhere else to go because there is no other place to go".

Merkel's trip Friday to the Black Sea resort of Sochi is her first visit to Russian Federation in a year and comes amid tense relations between Berlin and Moscow.

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