Assad flies to Moscow to thank Putin for air strikes

2015-10-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew into Moscow for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the two men discussed their joint military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria.

In his first foreign trip since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Assad’s visit came three weeks after Russia launched a campaign of air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria. Assad personally thanked Putin for his military support, emphasizing just how major a part Russia is playing in the Middle East.

He said " wanted to express my huge gratitude to the whole leadership of the Russian Federation for the help they are giving Syria”,  Assad told Putin.

"If it was not for your actions and your decisions the terrorism which is spreading in the region would have swallowed up a much greater area and spread over an even greater
territory."

Putin said Russia was ready to help find a political solution and hailed the Syrian people for standing up to the militants "almost on their own," saying the Syrian army  had notched up serious battlefield success in recent times.

He said Russia had felt compelled to act in Syria because of the threat that Islamist militants fighting Assad's forces posed to its own security.

(from Vatican Radio)