Partners in crime: Assad arrives in Russia to meet key ally Putin

Partners in crime: Assad arrives in Russia to meet key ally Putin on 12th anniversary of uprising that sparked Syrian Civil War

  • Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin will hold talks in Moscow tomorrow 
  • The leaders will discuss issues of in political, trade and humanitarian spheres 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will hold talks with key ally Vladimir Putin tomorrow on the 12th anniversary of the uprising that sparked the Syrian Civil War.

The pair will meet in Moscow tomorrow to discuss issues of cooperation in the political, trade and humanitarian spheres ‘as well as prospects for an overall settlement of the situation in and around Syria’.

Russia is a main backer of Assad and has a broad presence in Syria, where a 12-year uprising-turned-civil war has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population. 

Moscow has played a pivotal role in fighting back armed opposition groups trying to topple Assad’s government through its military support, and has also aggressively backed Damascus against opponents at the United Nations. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will hold talks with key ally Vladimir Putin tomorrow on the 12th anniversary of the uprising that sparked the Syrian Civil War. Assad is pictured today as he arrived at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow

He and Putin (pictured today) will meet in Moscow tomorrow to discuss issues cooperation in the political, trade and humanitarian spheres ‘as well as prospects for an overall settlement of the situation in and around Syria’

Assad’s office said he had arrived in Moscow today for an official visit during which he would meet with Putin. 

It is his first official visit outside the Middle East since last month’s devastating earthquake, according to a statement from the Syrian Presidency via the Telegram messaging app. 

In a statement, it said that the Syrian president had been greeted on arrival by Putin’s special representative Mikhail Bogdanov and the Russian ambassador to Damascus Alexander Yefimov.

Assad was accompanied by a ‘large ministerial delegation’, said the Syrian presidency statement.

He will be holding talks with Putin during his visit, alongside a large Syrian ministerial delegation, as relations between Middle East states undergo a realignment.

‘Topical issues of further development of Russian-Syrian cooperation in the political, trade, economic and humanitarian spheres, as well as prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the situation in and around Syria will be discussed,’ the Kremlin said in a statement today. 

Russia launched a military campaign in Syria in 2015 that helped to turn the tide in a civil war in favour of Assad with massive aerial bombardment of opposition-held areas.

It helped Assad to regain much of the territory he lost to rebels who sought to topple him.

Moscow has since expanded its military facilities in the country with a permanent air base at Hmeymim in Syria’s Latakia province.

Russia’s naval base in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tartous is the Russian navy’s only permanent warm water port outside the former Soviet Union.

Western intelligence sources say Russia’s costly war in Ukraine has forced it to push some assets from Syria although the country remains Moscow’s firmest foothold on the southern flank of NATO.

Assad steps off the plane as he arrives at Vnukovo airport in Moscow, Russia today

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reviews Russian honour guards today as he stands with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov upon his arrival at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow

Assad’s visit coincides with the 12th anniversary of the uprising in Syria that began with peaceful demonstrations in March 2011.

The protests turned into an armed revolt after Assad used force to crush the opposition. It spiralled into a multi-sided conflict that has sucked in neighbours and world powers and caused the largest displacement crisis since World War Two.

Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow which intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2015 by launching air strikes to support the government’s struggling forces.

With that support, as well as from Iran, Damascus won back much of the territory it had lost in the war’s early stages.

The Syrian civil war has killed around half a million people and displaced millions more since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Assad’s government has been politically isolated in the region since the start of the conflict, but he has been receiving calls and aid from Arab leaders after a February 6 earthquake that killed tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria.

Analysts say he could leverage this momentum to bolster regional support.

After the quake Putin offered Russian aid to Turkey and Syria.

Syria’s war led to strained relations between Damascus and Ankara, which has long supported rebel groups opposed to Assad.

But analysts have said Moscow is trying to bridge the divide between its two allies, united by a common ‘enemy’ – Kurdish forces in northern Syria, described as ‘terrorists’ by Ankara and backed by Washington.

In December the defence ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria met in Moscow for the first such talks since the Syrian war began.

Assad had in January said a Russian-brokered rapprochement with Turkey should aim for ‘the end of occupation’ by Ankara of parts of Syria.

Media reports today said ties between Damascus and Ankara would be among the topics for Putin and Assad.

Their meeting also follows the surprise announcement on Friday of a Chinese-brokered restoration of diplomatic ties between the Middle East’s major rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Assad has not visited Moscow since September 2021, when he also met Putin.

Source: Read Full Article

click fraud detection