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Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad met Monday night in Moscow to discuss military cooperation and how to regain control of the last rebel-held areas in Syria. It was their first meeting since January of last year. That meeting was held in Damascus. Until Monday, Assad had not visited Moscow since 2018.

Syria is a country devastated by a brutal civil war that involves several regional powers, but also it is a war that has forced more than five million Syrians into refugee camps in Northern Syria and in Turkey.

assad in moscow 1Russia is the most powerful ally in the conflict. Indeed, it was Russia’s air force that played a major role in helping to turn the tide of the civil war in al-Assad’s favor, helping him recover most territory lost to armed groups.

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