Assad meets Putin in Sochi to discuss political solution to Syrian conflict

World Today

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia. Putin told Assad during a meeting that Russia expects all “foreign armed forces” to leave Syria.

CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports from Damascus.

Follow Alaa Ebrahim on Twitter @Alaa_Ebrahim_tv

On a surprise visit to Russia, the Syrian and Russian presidents said their departure would mark the beginning of a “political process” in Syria.

However, that doesn’t mean an end to the fighting.

The quotes published by the Syrian state news agency, SANA, refer to an ongoing “fight against terrorism.”

Assad’s meeting with Putin in Sochi seemed to be setting the stage for a new phase in Syria’s seven year civil war.

SANA says that Damascus will send names of Syrian officials who will join a U.N.-sponsored committee to draft a new Syrian constitution. Some analysts view this as a possible starting point for a long-awaited political solution in Syria.

The debate over Iran’s role in Syria after the war, and the degree of Tehran’s influence, is likely to remain a key issue, with so many conflicting agendas in Syria.

Sources close to the Syrian government say Iranian military advisers are in Syria at the invitation of the Assad government and will only leave when Damascus asks them to do so.