Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks in Moscow with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, the Kremlin said, as relations between Middle Eastern nations undergo a realignment.
Russia was one of Syria’s few allies during the war years and was politically isolated.
“Thematic issues on the future development of Russian-Syrian cooperation in the political, commercial, economic and humanitarian fields, as well as the prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the situation in Syria and around Syria will be discussed,” he said. said in a statement on Tuesday. .
Assad’s office said he had come to Moscow for an official visit, during which he would meet Putin.
In a statement, he said the Syrian president was greeted on his arrival by Putin’s special representative, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Russia’s ambassador to Damascus, Alexander Yefimov. A statement from the Syrian presidential office said Mr Assad was accompanied by a “large ministerial delegation”.
Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow, which intervened in the 2015 Syrian conflict by conducting air strikes to support struggling government forces.
With this support, as well as from Iran, Damascus regained much of the territory it had lost at the start of the war.
Syria’s civil war has killed an estimated half a million people and displaced millions more since it began in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.
Mr. Assad’s government has been politically isolated in the region since the start of the conflict, but it received calls and help from Arab leaders after the 6 May earthquake. 2 killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey and Syria. Analysts say he could use this momentum to build support in the region.
After the earthquake, Putin offered aid to Turkey and Syria.
The war in Syria has led to strained relations between Damascus and Ankara, which have long backed rebel groups opposed to Assad.
But analysts say Moscow is trying to close the gap between its two allies, united by a common “enemy”, the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, which Ankara considers “terrorists”. ” and backed by Washington.
In December, the defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Syria met in Moscow for the first such talks since the start of the war in Syria. In January, Mr. Assad said that the resumption of Russia-brokered friendship with Turkey should be aimed at “ending Ankara’s occupation” of parts of Syria.
The media reported on Tuesday that the connection between Damascus and Ankara will be one of the topics for Putin and Assad.
Their meeting also followed Friday’s surprise announcement of the resumption of China-brokered diplomatic relations between major Middle East rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.