For the first time since 2011 and the beginning of the war in Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad made a trip abroad, more precisely to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. Talks, in tête-à-tête and in expanded format with top Russian officials, focused on recent military actions carried out by Russia in Syria.
Al-Assad thanked Putin for having replied positively to the Syrian government’s request and having prevented the extension of terrorism but chiefly, analysts pointed out, Al-Assad expressed his readiness to “make (our) contribution (…) to the political process (towards) a peaceful settlement to this conflict.” This Moscow visit showed a more open-minded Al-Assad and that the situation has quickly enough improved to make it possible.
Al-Assad also confirmed one of Putin’s objectives namely handling Russian jihadists in situ so that they don’t return to Russia. In the meantime, US and Russia signed memorandum of understanding on Air Safety in Syria and the Iraqi military backed by Shiite militia assessed the results of its first real offensive against ISIS.