President Bashar al-Assad of Syria paid a surprise visit on Thursday to Russia’s Sochi, where he met President Vladimir Putin who said that in Syria is now favorable for the beginning of a “political process.”
Putin said recent victories against terrorist groups in Syria paved the ground for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
“After the military success (of the Syrian army in recent months), supplementary conditions have been created which favor the start of a political process on a major scale,” Putin said in a statement after the meeting.
Assad welcomed the idea and said Damascus was resolved to pursue the political process in tandem with its military efforts.
“Stability is improving, and all that opens the doors to the political process, which we started a while ago,” Assad told Putin, according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin’s website.
“I have always said, and I repeat it again, that we have always wholeheartedly supported the political process, which should proceed in parallel with the war on terrorism,” he added.
Despite the possible bumps down the road, Assad said he would stay committed to all political efforts.
“We know that will not be easy, since there are countries which do not want stability to return to Syria. However, together with you and our other partners and friends, we will move firmly forward with the peace process,” Assad added.
Media outlets also reported that Putin said Russia expected foreign armed forces to pull out of Syria as a peace process began.