All 'foreign forces' to leave Syria, Putin tells Assad

23 May, 2018, 00:49 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • A civil war which began in 2011 in Syria is still ongoing

Tensions are high in Syria after several Israeli strikes in recent weeks on regime positions, as well as military installations reportedly used by Iran.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid an unannounced visit to Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening at the Russian president's summer home in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi where the two leaders discussed the process for winding down the war in Syria, and notably the reduction of foreign troop presence in the country.

"Should the Syrians want us, we will continue to be there", Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a press conference in Tehran cited by the official IRNA news agency. The first was the April 13th US-led coalition attack involving over one hundred missiles on sites in and around Damascus; and the second was the May 10 Israeli attack on dozens of targets inside Syria in what was the biggest military escalation between the two countries in decades.

Israeli relations with Iran are strained over Tehran's curtailed, yet still existing nuclear program, hostile rhetoric and support for Syria in its fight against terrorist groups.

State TV earlier said that government forces resumed an offensive at noon after a group of civilians was evacuated from the area overnight.

Army soldiers fired into the air in celebration and held Syrian flags, against a smashed cityscape of shattered buildings and widespread destruction, state television footage showed.


Assad's forces have been making steady gains since 2015 when Russian launched an air campaign on behalf of his forces.

Syrian troops and their allies are expected to turn their attention to opposition-held parts of southern Syria, including Daraa province, in a push that could bring allied Iranian forces even closer to the increasingly tense frontier with Israel.

The Washington Post and CNN, for example, focused on Iran and Hezbollah as key foreign forces that have "helped to prop up the embattled President [Assad]".

Mayhoub says "Damascus and its surroundings are completely secure".

Syrian state media reported the blasts at the time but did not provide any details, while the Observatory had said they were likely due to a technical malfunction.

A temporary humanitarian ceasefire had been in place since Sunday night in Al-Hajar al-Aswad to allow women, children and old people to leave the area, state media said early on Monday.

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