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Putin hints at pulling out foreign armed forces from Syria

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 20, 2018, 08:19 AM IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on May 17. Photograph:(Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart on Saturday that foreign armed forces would soon leave Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in the Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

As reported by CNN, the two leaders hailed the beginning of a "political process" in Syria to fight off terrorism.

Putin said in a statement that "Foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic."

He further acknowledged the victory of Syria in fighting off terrorism.

"We presume that, in connection with the significant victories and success of the Syrian army in the fight against terrorism, with the onset of a more active part", Putin added.

A group of countries including the United States, Turkey, Russia, and Iran had deployed their troops in Syria. Russia also emerged as Assad's most powerful support and it intervened on his behalf in 2015.

Further, Iran has also been a permanent ally of President Assad.

Assad's visit comes just over a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Moscow.

It has been reported that Russia is unlikely to intervene in Israel's actions in Syria, despite Russia's condemnation of Israel's latest airstrikes on May 9.

Russia hinted last month it would supply advanced weapons to Assad despite Israeli objections.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western attacks in the country removed any moral obstacle to arming Syria.

Syria has been embroiled in a complicated, multi-sided civil war involving foreign powers, rebels and jihadists.