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Russian lawmakers plan to meet Syria’s President Assad

The handout, released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on March 30, 2011, shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad waving at supporters after addressing the parliament in Damascus. (AFP photo)

A group of Russian lawmakers have announced a plan to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while denying claims that the Syrian leader has left the Arab country.

Dmitry Sablin, a deputy in the Russian lower house of parliament, known as the State Duma, told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the lawmakers would meet Assad to discuss latest developments in Syria.

“We plan to meet him to discuss the situation and support the people of Syria in its fight against terrorism,” said Sablin without elaborating on the specific date of the planned meeting.

Sablin, who serves as the coordinator of a Russian parliamentary group for ties with Syria’s parliament, arrived in Damascus on Wednesday at the head of a delegation which seeks talks with the Syrian leadership and businessmen while on a mission to carry out a number of humanitarian efforts.

The announcement for meeting with Assad came hours after some reports suggested that the Syrian president had left Syria out of fears that the United States might launch a massive military attack on the country.

US President Donald Trump took to his Twitter page and called on Russia, which maintains a military presence in Syria to help Assad fight terror, to be ready for a potential US missile attack.

However, Sablin rejected claims that Assad had left the country with his family.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad is in Damascus,” said Sablin, reiterating that Assad has repeatedly resisted calls for leaving the country in the past.

The Russian lawmaker added that he "has met with Assad several times, including in 2014, when the situation in Syria was much worse."

“Then, Assad said he would never leave Syria and would share his people’s fate,” said the lawmaker, adding, “His (Assad’s) family is also now in Damascus with their people.”

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