Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow on Monday, his first international trip since a civil conflict broke out in his country four years ago.
Assad visited with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his diplomatic visit earlier this week, telling Putin that Russian-backed airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets had helped stop the militia from becoming “more widespread and harmful,” the BBC reported.
Putin responded by saying he hoped that a “long-term resolution” could be reached based on a “political process with the participation of all political forces, ethnic and religious groups.”
Putin’s meeting with Assad happened on the last leg of the Syrian leader’s trip to Russia. The meeting was held Tuesday night, but the Kremlin did not announce the visit until Wednesday night after Assad had returned to Syria, UPI reported.