Putin, Assad discuss Middle East situation

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DAMASCUS /MOSCOW
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday during a surprise visit to Damascus, his first since the start of the nearly nine-year-old war, the presidency said. “Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Damascus for a visit during which he met President Assad at the headquarters of the Russian forces,” it said in a statement.
The two leaders listened to a military presentation by the commander of Russian forces in Syria, said the presidency, which posted a picture of the two leaders shaking hands. Mr Putin extended his greetings to Russian forces for the Orthodox Christmas. The Russian leader had visited Syria in December 2017 but had not been to the capital, only stopping at the Russian base of Hmeimim on the Mediterranean coast.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Damascus for a visit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday. Vladimir Putin travelled from the airport to the headquarters of the Russian Armed Forces group in the Syrian Arab Republic, drove down the streets of Damascus, he underlined. “Putin was met by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the headquarters,” Peskov informed. “The leaders heard military reports on developments in various regions of the country,” the spokesman added.

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