Putin denounces ‘illegal foreign military presence’ in Syria as Assad makes surprise visit to Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, discussing bilateral relations, international terrorism and the remaining obstacles to Syria’s full national reconciliation. 

The joint efforts of Russia and Syria have dealt a crippling blow to terrorists, allowing Damascus to regain control over more than 90% of its territory, Putin said during his meeting with Assad – noting, however, that some obstacles remain before a “full consolidation of power” and “return to normal life” are possible.

“The main problem, in my opinion, is that foreign armed forces are present in certain areas of the country without any UN mandate, without your authorization, which clearly contradicts international law, and prevents you from taking maximum efforts to consolidate the country and move along the path of its restoration at a rate that would be possible if the entire territory was controlled by a legitimate government,” the Russian leader said.

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