Assad Talks of Political Moves in Moscow Visit

Assad Talks of Political  Moves in Moscow VisitAssad Talks of Political  Moves in Moscow Visit

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Russia’s actions have prevented the terrorists from seizing larger areas in his country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Assad conducted lengthy negotiations in Moscow on Tuesday, which then continued in the presence of Russia’s top policymakers.

“Yesterday evening Syrian President Bashar Assad arrived in Moscow for a working visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. “President [Putin] was informed in detail by his Syrian counterpart about the current state of affairs in Syria and the long-range plan," RT reported.

Putin said the Syrian people have been confronting terrorists “practically single-handedly” for years, withstanding considerable casualties.

Lately, they have achieved serious and positive results in this fight, he added.

The terrorists’ attempts to destabilize the situation in the Middle East arouse deep concern in Russia because “unfortunately, people from the former Soviet republics, at least 4,000 of them, are fighting against the Syrian army,” the Russian leader said.

“Naturally, we cannot allow them to appear on Russian territory with all the combat experience and ideological brainwashing they have gone through. The decisive word, without any doubt, must belong solely to the Syrian people.”

The Syrian president thanked Russia for the support provided to Syria in fighting for its sovereignty and unity.

“Terrorists would have occupied far greater territories if it were not for Russia’s military assistance,” he said, adding that political steps are due to follow military action.

“The only aim for all of us should be what the Syrian people want as a future for their country. Once the terrorists are defeated, it will take a united effort to rebuild the country economically and politically, and to ensure peaceful coexistence for all."

-  Russia-US Deal on Syria

The US and Russia on Tuesday put into practice new rules designed to minimize the risk of air collisions between military aircraft over Syria.

Washington and Moscow reached agreement on the rules for aircraft over Syria. A Russian defense official in Moscow said the "memorandum of understanding" suggests a potential for US-Russian counterterrorism cooperation, but US officials said it was a narrow arrangement that does not lessen Washington's concern about the Russian military campaign.

There is no plan to establish zones of cooperation in the parallel air campaigns or to share intelligence or target information in Syria, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

The Pentagon has cited several instances when Russian aircraft came too close to US warplanes over Syria in recent weeks. More broadly, Washington has complained that instead of hitting Islamic State fighters, Russian airstrikes are mostly targeting rebel forces fighting the Syrian government.

Russia also deployed land-based weaponry, including multiple-launch rocket systems, in support of the Syrian government.

After several rounds of talks that began more than a week ago, the two sides agreed to a number of air safety protocols, including "maintaining professional airmanship" and the use of specific aircraft communications frequencies, Cook said. They agreed to keep a "safe distance" between aircraft, but he would not say whether specific distances were written into the memo.

The two sides also agreed to establish a "communication line on the ground" as a backup of military-to-military communication, Cook said, although he would not say whether this would be a telephone line or where it would be located.

"A US-Russia working group will be formed to deal with any implementation issues that arise," he added.