Vladimir Putin meets Bashar al-Assad in Moscow on Wednesday March 15, according to a Kremlin statement. The Russian and Syrian heads of state will discuss "topical issues concerning the development of Russian-Syrian cooperation in the political, economic, trade and humanitarian spheres, as well as the prospects for a coordinated settlement of the situation in Syria and around the country,” the statement read.
Bashar al-Assad arrived in Moscow on Tuesday evening "for an official visit during which he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin", according to a press release from the Syrian presidency. Bashar al-Assad, "accompanied by a large ministerial delegation", was received by Mikhail Bogdanov, special representative of President Putin and deputy foreign minister, the presidency added.
The Syrian President's last public visit to Moscow dates back to September 2021, when he spoke with Mr. Putin. The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan, quoting the Russian newspaper Vedomosti, said on Tuesday that the two presidents should discuss, among other things, "the normalization between Damascus and Ankara", in which Russia plays the role of mediator.
A tripartite meeting was held in December in Moscow between the Turkish, Syrian and Russian defense ministers, the first since 2011. Relations have been broken since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, when Turkey sided with the rebel groups opposed to Damascus. Russia, Damascus' main ally, has for its part provided decisive military support to the Syrian army in the conflict.
The newspaper, citing the same source, believes that "current developments regarding Syrian-Arab relations" should also be addressed.
Bashar al-Assad has been diplomatically isolated since the 2011 crackdown on a popular uprising that escalated into a civil war. But since the February 6 earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey and Syria, Arab countries have intensified their contacts and sent aid to Damascus, which could take advantage of the tragedy to break out of its diplomatic isolation. according to experts.