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Putin expects fight against terrorism in Syria will be over soon

It is clear, however, that "some new hotbeds of terrorism" may still emerge, the Russian president warns

SOCHI, November 21. /TASS/.The fight against terrorism in Syria will be brought to an end soon, though some new hotbeds of terrorism may emerge, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the senior officials of the country’s Defense Ministry and the General Staff, which also involved Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who made a working visit to Russian on November 20.

"A lot has been done to stabilize the situation in Syria. I hope, in the near future we will bring the fight against terrorism in Syria to an end, though it is clear that some new hotbeds of terrorism may still emerge," Putin said, according to a transcript published on the Kremlin website.

The Russian leader added that "there still are many terrorism-related issues facing the world and the Middle East, including Syria." "But the main task is almost achieved, and in the near future we will be able to say that we have completed it," he said.

Putin introduced Russia’s senior military officials to Assad, presenting them as "people who have played the key role in saving Syria." "Mr. Assad definitely already knows some of you personally. He told me during our talks that thanks to the Russian military, the Syrian state has been saved," the Russian leader pointed out.

According to Putin, if it were not for the efforts of the senior Russian military officers and the courage demonstrated by their subordinates, no possibilities to advance the political process in Syria would have been created. "These efforts were made on the battlefield by the Russian Armed Forces together with our Syria friends. Special thanks to you," said Putin, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

Assad, in turn, also emphasized the important role of the Russian military "and the sacrifices that it has made to achieve this goal [fighting terrorism in Syria]." He stressed that "no one can deny" the successes in the war on terror that the Syrian troops and the Russian Aerospace Force had achieved.

"Thanks to your actions, as well as to the actions of the Syrian army and our allies, many Syrians have been able to return to their homes," the Syrian president said addressing the senior officials of Russia’s Defense Ministry and General Staff. He thanked them on behalf of the Syrian people and expressed personal gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov "for being directly involved in this operation."