Putin, Assad meet amid Kremlin plans to reduce military involvement in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, met in an effort to convince the latter to agree to peace initiatives drafted by the Kremlin, Iran and Turkey as the Russian military prepares to scale back its presence and involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Putin and Assad met in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi Monday, in advance of a summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran and an additional round of peace talks in Geneva.

The meeting was not announced in advance.

“I passed to (Putin) and all Russian people our greetings and gratitude for all of the efforts that Russia made to save our country,” Assad told Russia’s military brass.

To emphasize the importance of Syria’s relationship with the Kremlin, Assad only ventured out of his country twice during the six-year civil war, and both times were to Russia.

The war has cost 400,000 lives, created millions of refugees, and left much of Syria in ruins.

Earlier this year, the three countries brokered a ceasefire between Assad’s government troops and four rebel groups. As Russia seeks to decrease its presence (and influence) in Syria, Iran is said to be increasing both. [source]

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints?

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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