MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin told his visiting Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, that military operations against terrorists in Syria are coming to an end, with the focus shifting to a political process, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
“I hope that in the very near future we will put an end to the fight against terrorism in Syria, although it is clear that hotbeds (of terrorism) will continue to emerge,” Putin told Assad in a surprising meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday, according to a Kremlin transcript of the meeting.
“I think that now the most important thing, of course, is to turn to a political process,” Putin added.
Russia started to participate in the anti-terrorist operations in Syria in September 2015. It has now withdrawn the majority of its troops from the war-torn country since December 2016, leaving air forces to back Syrian government troops.
At Monday’s meeting, Assad praised Russian military operations, saying that “great successes were achieved, both directly on the battlefield and in the political sphere.”
Russia’s military chief confirmed Tuesday that the active phase of the military operations in Syria is ending, when he met his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Sochi. (Xinhua)