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Syria’s Assad says his visit to Moscow heralds 'new stage' in bilateral relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 15, 2023. (Photo by SANA)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is in Moscow on an official visit, has told his Russian counterpart that the trip heralds a new stage in Syria-Russia relations.

"We are satisfied with the performance of the Russian-Syrian [intergovernmental] commission. My visit today will open up a new stage in relations between our countries in all areas," TASS quoted Assad as saying in a meeting with Vladimir Putin. 

The Syrian president also reiterated his government’s support for Russia in the military conflict in Ukraine, saying Moscow is fighting “old and new Nazis” in Ukraine, which he said are being supported by the West.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad also thanked Russia for providing Damascus with humanitarian aid following the recent quakes in the Arab country.

"I would like to thank ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation that helped in elimination of the aftermath of the earthquakes. Thanks to their involvement, we were able to significantly reduce the number of victims and the scale of damage," the Syrian leader said.

Putin, for his part, said the two countries are in constant contact, lauding their relations as “developing.”

The Russian leader also hailed the two countries’ anti-terror cooperation and its "significant results” in the fight against international terrorism. 

“Thanks to our joint efforts and the decisive contribution of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria, significant results have been achieved in the fight against international terrorism," Putin said.

The Russian president noted that those results had provided "an opportunity for stabilizing the socio-economic and domestic political situation."

Putin also expressed sympathy with the Syrian nation over the recent devastating quakes that rocked the country, describing it as a “catastrophe.”

"The Syrian people faced another very serious problem, a catastrophe, an earthquake... As true friends, we are trying to support you," Putin said.

 Last month’s earthquakes has killed some 6,000 people in Syria, mostly in northwest areas near the Turkish border.

According to the UN, some five million people need basic shelter and non-food assistance in the quake-hit part of Syria.

The Syrian president arrived in Moscow on an official visit on Tuesday, accompanied by a large delegation of ministers.

The two leaders last met in September 2021, when the Syrian president paid a visit to Moscow.

Moscow is a staunch ally of Damascus, providing air support for Syrian forces fighting foreign-backed militants and terrorists in the Arab country.

Together with Iran and Turkey, Russia has also served as one of the guarantors of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition.

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