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Russian defense minister hands over message from Putin to Assad

The Defense Ministry did not say what the message was about

MOSCOW, March 19./TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has made a working trip to Damascus under instructions from President Vladimir Putin, bringing a message from the Russian president for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Tuesday.

It said Shoigu visited Syria on March 19. "In Damascus, Sergey Shoigu held talks with President Bashar al-Assad and handed over a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Syrian leader," the ministry said.

The Defense Ministry did not say what the message was about.

It said that at talks with Assad, the Russian defense minister had discussed fight against terrorism in Syria, security for the Middle East and the post-conflict settlement. They also discussed the return of refugees and temporarily displaced persons to their homes in Syria, as well as humanitarian supplies.

The ministry quoted Shoigu as saying that with the support of Russia, Syria has achieved significant success in fight against international terrorism. Also, the Syrian state has been preserved and conditions have been created for the return of its citizens to a peaceful life.

"However, not everybody is satisfied with success of the Syrian government in restoration of peace. Western countries are trying to bring down to a minimum any positive transformations in Syria and create new obstacles to see the crisis continue," Shoigu said.