Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week to discuss the improvement of not only Syria’s infrastructure but also in the hopes of reaching political solution regarding the perpetual conflict in the region. Assad said that the Syrian army had achieved “great results” these past months and now was the time for planning the next step in the nations repair. The Kremlin stated that Assad will be sending government representatives to join the constitutional committee that has been charged with this task.

Russia has been instrumental in the Syrian regime’s efforts to maintain a presence in the chaotic region but also in combating the Islamic State over the last few years. They provided large amounts of military support in the form of conventional forces, military advisers, and air support. Assad has greatly benefited from this military success with many Syrian citizens rallying to him during the conflict. The recent, alleged, chemical weapons attacks by his regime was met by military retaliation from the United States led coalition forces, but so far Assad has saved face in the region.

The meeting between Putin and Assad took place in Sochi, the foreign affairs and defense ministries were also in attendance. The Russian congress was hosted in January in Sochi, they met to discuss peace talks and end the seven-year civil war that afflicts the country. The meeting was met with protesters initially, eventually they concluded that a committee would be formed to discuss and organize a new post-war constitution. Essential members will meet in Sochi again in July to continue discussions. This was announced in Astana, Kazakhstan last week; the announcement was made after de-escalation talks were held there between Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

Staffan de Mistura of the United Nations, and special envoy to Syria, claimed that the meeting held in Astana was “useful … with some concrete discussions on de-escalation,” specifically in Syria’s rebel forces held Idlib province. Presidents Assad and Putin also went over important steps in restoring the Syrian economy as well as the dire need for humanitarian relief efforts. Putin stressed the need for combined efforts and cooperation between not just the United Nations, but all nations invested in aiding Syria and solving the region’s crisis.

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