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After Surprise Assad Visit, Putin Vows to Address Syria With Trump

Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad / Kremlin Press Service

After a surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar Assad to Sochi on Monday, President Vladimir Putin has said he plans to speak with U.S. President Donald Trump about the conflict in Syria.

Russia entered the Syrian war in 2015 with a series of airstrikes it said targeted Islamic State, a banned terrorist organization in Russia. The Kremlin’s intervention on the side of Bashar Assad is widely seen as having turned the tide of the war in favor of his regime.

Assad’s unannounced visit to Sochi came a day ahead of trilateral talks between Iran, Turkey and Russia in the Black Sea resort where the parties are expected to discuss local ceasefires in Syria.

Following Monday's meeting with Assad, Putin said he planned to address the Syrian conflict with other Middle East countries including Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

“I have a conversation planned with the Emir of Qatar today, with U.S. President Donald Trump tomorrow, then with state leaders in the region,” Putin said according to a Kremlin statement.

Also on Wednesday, Syria’s Saudi-backed opposition is scheduled to gather for three-day talks ahead of UN peace talks next week.

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