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Lawmaker: Assad’s visit to Moscow strengthens Russia’s position on resolving Syrian crisis

October 21, 2015, 19:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Bashar al-Assad’s visit to the Russia is his first foreign trip since the aggravation of the Syrian crisis in 2011

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MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin strengthens Moscow’s position in international negotiations on resolving the Syrian crisis, State Duma’s International Affairs Committee deputy chairman Leonid Kalashnikov told TASS on Wednesday.

"Assad’s visit indicates that he is ready to discuss not only military issues, but also political aspects precisely with Russia. This strengthens Moscow’s position in the international format on talks on the Syrian settlement," he stressed. Kalashnikov reminded that this is not the first time when Russia "stretches out a helping hand" to Damascus to help look for political solutions to the crisis. "This was the case with our initiative on Syria’s chemical disarmament. Time confirmed that this decision was right," the lawmaker said.

Kalashnikov noted that there were possibly "issues that require a personal conversation" among reasons for Assad’s visit to Moscow. "I do not rule out that they talked about political levers of settlement and possibly about a serious large-scale operation against terrorists - us from the air, them [Syrian troops] on the ground," he added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin and Assad held lengthy talks in Moscow on Tuesday evening. "The talks were rather lengthy and the issues discussed are clear enough," Peskov said. "The President [of Russia Vladimir Putin] was informed in detail by the Syrian colleague [President Bashar al-Assad] of the state of affairs in Syria and plans for the future," the Kremlin official said.

He added that the leaders also discussed at the meeting the progress of Russia’s military operation in Syria, the fights against terrorists in Syria and various aspects of bilateral relations.

This is Assad’s first foreign trip since the civil war in Syria broke out in 2011.

At the end of September , Russian Federation Council unanimously granted permission to the Russian president to use the nation’s military force in Syria. Russia will use only its Air Force in Syria against Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups upon the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov said, stressing that no ground troops will be sent. The Russian Aerospace Forces started delivering targeted strikes against IS facilities on Wednesday, September 30.

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