Syrian president in Moscow welcomes the presence of more Russian forces inside Syria


During his visit to the Russian capital, the Syrian President Bashar al Assad said on Thursday, that Damascus would welcome any proposals from Russia to establish new military bases or increase the number of its forces in Syria.

Assad, who is in Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, also said that Russia’s military presence in his country shouldn’t be temporary.

Russian President Vladimir Putin received his Syrian counterpart in Moscow on Wednesday, in light of the Kremlin’s intensified efforts to achieve reconciliation between Ankara and Damascus and to confirm its diplomatic weight despite the diplomatic isolation it faces due to its invasion of Ukraine.

When Russia intervened in the Syrian war in 2015, it helped turn the tide in Assad’s favor, ensuring the Syrian leader’s survival despite Western demands for his ouster.

Assad, who met President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Wednesday, backed Russia’s war in Ukraine as he told Russian reporters that Damascus recognized the territories claimed by Russia in Ukraine.

The conflict in Syria, which began in 2011 with peaceful protests before descending into multi-sided fighting, has become a hallmark of the years of Assad’s rule.

He regained much of the space he lost to the opposition with the help of Russia and Iran, and contributed to this because the two allied countries were always more committed to keeping him in power than his opponents who wanted to overthrow him.

Besides the Hmeimim air base, from which Russia launches air strikes in support of Assad, Moscow also controls the Tartus naval facility, its only naval base in the Mediterranean, which it has used since Soviet days.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in January that Moscow and Damascus had restored the al Jarrah military air base in northern Syria for joint use.

The small base east of Aleppo was recaptured from Islamic State militants in 2017.

In Moscow, Assad thanked Putin for helping his country after the devastating earthquake and praised the Russian president for his support for Syria’s territorial integrity.

Assad said that Syria supports Russia in the Ukraine war.

Assad told Putin, “I want to take advantage of this first visit to me after the start of the war in Ukraine, to renew our firm position in support of the Russian position on this war”.

The Syrian president announced that his country recognizes that the lands that Moscow seized from Ukraine are Russian lands.

In addition, Syrian President announced that he won’t meet his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, unless Türkiye withdraws its forces from northern Syria, according to an interview published by a Russian media on Thursday.

The statements were published the day after Assad met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, seeking to repair relations between Erdogan and Assad, which were severed since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011.

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