On May 17, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad traveled to the Russian city of Sochi where he held a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in which the two leaders discussed the political process in Syria and the recent achievements of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), according to the Russian news agency TASS.
“President [Putin] pointed out the Syrian Armed Forces’ considerable achievements in struggle with terrorist units and congratulated Assad on this occasion … The two presidents pointed out the importance of setting up more conditions that would facilitate the resumption of a full-fledged political process and they also noted success of the Astana process, as well as of the Congress of the Syrian People, which had been held in Sochi,” Kremlin’s Acting Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters after the meeting, according to TASS.
The Russian RT TV reported that the Syrian president agreed to send a delegation to a committee tasked to rewrite Syria’s constitution during the meeting. The establishment of this committee was one of the main results of the Syrian National Dialogue Conference held in January.
“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 told Putin during the meeting, according to TASS.
During the meeting with Assad, the Russian president stressed that “foreign forces” should withdraw from Syria after the recent achievements of the SAA, according to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper. The Kremlin didn’t clarify if Putin was talking in general or about a specific side like Turkey, the US or Iran.
“Given the victories and successes of the Syrian army in the war on terror, in light of the onset of a more active period, and in light of the fact that a more active political process has begun, foreign armed forces will start leaving Syrian territory,” Putin told Assad during the meeting, according to Haaretz.
The results of Putin-Assad meeting will push the political process in Syria forward, according to local observers, who also believe that this meeting is clearly linked to the results of latest round of Astana talks held on May 14 and 15.