Syrian President Bashar Assad is in Moscow to meet with his top ally Russian President Vladimir Putin as the Kremlin steps up efforts to restore ties between Turkey and Syria.
This visit comes on the anniversary of the uprising-turned-civil war in Syria that has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.
Moscow has played a pivotal role in fighting back armed opposition groups trying to topple Assad’s government through its military support and has also aggressively backed Damascus against opponents at the United Nations.
According to a statement from the Kremlin, the agenda will include “further development of Russian-Syrian cooperation in the political, trade, economic and humanitarian spheres, as well as the prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the situation in and around Syria.”
The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan, quoting the Russian newspaper Vedomosti, said on Tuesday that the two presidents are also expected to discuss, among other things, “normalisation between Damascus and Ankara,” in which Russia plays the role of mediator.
The Syrian, Turkish and Russian deputy foreign ministers as well as a senior adviser to their Iranian counterpart were also due to hold talks in Moscow on “counterterrorism efforts” in Syria.
The Syrian president’s last public visit to Moscow was in September 2021, when he held talks with Putin.