14 Sep. 2021 13:59 Uhr
On Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid a surprise visit to Moscow and met for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The focus was on the situation in Syria and the country’s current problems.
First and foremost, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his colleague Bashar al-Assad on his birthday and congratulated him on his convincing victory in the elections in May this year. The Syrian head of state was re-elected with more than 95 percent of the vote. Putin saw this as a clear sign of the confidence of the Syrian people that Assad will lead the country back to a peaceful life. He also expressed the hope that Assad will eventually unite all political opponents in a national reconciliation process.
On the subject of the fight against terrorism, Putin took stock of the joint efforts of the governments in Moscow and Damascus to curb terrorist activities in Syria. According to the Russian head of state, the terrorists were dealt a devastating blow, which enabled Damascus to regain control of more than 90 percent of its territory. However, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome before a “full consolidation of power and a return to normal life” can be achieved in the country, Putin added.
Among the main problems the Syrian government is currently facing, Putin highlighted the continued presence of foreign troops in the country. He told his Syrian counterpart:
“The main problem, I believe, is that foreign forces, without a UN mandate and without your authorization, continue to be in certain areas of the country. This clearly violates international law and prevents you from making the greatest possible effort to consolidate the country and move forward on the road to reconstruction at a pace that would be possible if the entire territory were controlled by a legitimate government. “
According to reports, around 900 US soldiers are currently remaining in northern Syria to support the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (DKS).
Another problem is the remaining “breeding grounds for resistance by terrorists who not only control part of the area but also continue to terrorize the civilian population,” Putin said.
Assad admitted that the Russian and Syrian armies had not only achieved impressive successes in the fight against terrorism, but had also “facilitated the return of refugees who were forced to leave their homes”. He stated:
“International terrorism knows no borders and is spreading like an infection around the world. Therefore, our armies have made a great contribution to the protection of all mankind from this evil.”
Assad also recognized the need to restart political dialogue in Syria. However, he regretted that this work “had basically stalled in the past three years”. According to the Syrian head of state, certain countries have a “destructive influence” on the political process in the country.
He also reminded Putin of the sanctions that the USA, the EU and some Arab states have imposed on the war-torn country and described them as misanthropic and illegal.
The Syrian head of state then thanked Moscow for its military and diplomatic support during the Syrian civil war. Assad stressed the efforts of the Russian Foreign Ministry in defense of the right of the Syrian state to decide its own fate and to oppose attempts by some countries to “use terrorism to achieve their ends”.
Assad also praised Russia’s support in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Syrian President thanked Vladimir Putin for the supplies of the corona vaccines Sputnik V and Sputnik Light, developed by Russia, to Syria, which had recently started, as well as for further humanitarian aid that Moscow is giving Damascus.
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