The Associated Press reports: President Bashar Assad has traveled to Moscow in his first known trip abroad since war broke out in Syria in 2011, meeting his strongest ally Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The two leaders stressed that military operations in Syria— in which Moscow is the latest and most powerful addition— must lead to a political process.
The surprise visit Tuesday reflects renewed confidence from the embattled Syrian president after Russia and Iran, another staunch ally, dramatically escalated their support recently as Moscow began carrying out airstrikes on Syrian insurgents and Tehran sent hundreds of ground forces.
A Syrian official confirmed Wednesday that Assad had returned to Damascus. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Putin said he had invited Assad, thanking him for “coming to Moscow despite a tragic situation in your country.”
Assad flashed wide smiles as he shook hands with Putin and other officials. “We thank you for standing by Syria’s territorial integrity and its independence,” Assad told Putin. [Continue reading…]
While in Moscow, Assad received tips on the opportunities Russia has to offer for former presidents in exile.
During the official visit of Assad, a lively and legitimate Yanukovych, spoke about advantages of living in Russia pic.twitter.com/36kQjyYt8n
— ИванИванычИванов (@inaninanich2) October 21, 2015