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Assad thanks Putin for helping hand in defeating terrorists

The Syrian president has also thanked the Russian pilots for their mission

HMEYMIM, December 11. /TASS/. Syrian President Bashar Assad has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Russian army’s assistance in defeating terrorists.

"The achievements that have occurred are very significant and very important for us," Assad told Putin during their meeting at the Hmeymim air base on Monday.

"The meeting’s issue - the destruction of militants of ISIL (former name of the Islamic State terror group, banned in Russia) - is crucial for the entire world. We coped with that," Assad said.

"On behalf of the entire people of the Syrian Arab Republic, I express deep gratitude for this role that your Armed Forces have played. The victories that were achieved concerned both our state and the neighboring countries," he said.

Putin and Assad also met at the aircraft parking area at Russia’s Hmeymim air base with the pilots of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces on Monday.

The presidents discussed the combat performance of pilots and technical characteristics of aircraft. "The equipment is very reliable," one of the pilots said.

Assad said "the pilots are in the air all the time." "Thanks a million," the Syrian president said.

The Russian president thanked the pilots for their mission and wished them a happy New Year.