Vladimir Putin meets Assad, calls for 'political process' on Syria

Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali in Moscow Russia

Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali in Moscow Thomson Reuters

Syrian President Bashar Assad has flown to Russian Federation to meet Vladimir Putin at his summer residence.

The warships will remain on "permanent standby" to counter the "remaining terrorist threat in Syria", Russian state media quoted Putin as saying during a gathering of military and defense industry leaders at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

"Of course, after this military success, additional conditions have been created to restart a full-format political process", he said at talks with Assad on Thursday.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Assad informed Mr Putin of his decision to "send a delegation to the UN" to discuss reforming the country's constitution. Assad said about it after completion of the talks, TASS reported.

"Russian Federation welcomes this decision by the Syrian president and will be supporting it in every way, given the agreements reached during the Congress of the Syrian people held in Sochi several months ago", Putin said.

A day after United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned that a government assault on the rebel-held area of Idlib could affect 2.3 million people, Putin met Assad in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin traveled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there.

Putin also congratulated Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups". "Now, we can make next moves jointly with you". A brutal government crackdown and the rise of an armed insurgency eventually tipped the country into civil war.

Assad's future has been a key sticking point in years of failed peace efforts.

Latest News