by Shelby Vcelka
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe
In a surprise visit to Moscow, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Syria. Putin stressed that Russia’s support with military operations in Syria must lead to a political process that ends the conflict indefinitely. The visit demonstrated strengthened confidences between the leaders, as Russia had recently escalated their support in the region, by carrying out airstrikes against the Syrian insurgents.
Moscow, a long time ally of the Assad regime, began an air raid and bombing campaign on September 30th, against alleged terrorist groups they claim threaten Assad’s rule in the region. However, the United States and other western nations state that the Russian intervention will end up bolstering the Assad regime, and create more conflict. While Putin claims that the Russian military is fighting against the Islamic State and other terrorist militants in Syria, many of the airstrikes have actually been conducted against Syrian rebels and other dissidents of the Assad regime. The Russian government is the latest nation to get involved in the Syrian Civil War.
“A long-term settlement can only be achieved as part of a political process with the participation of all political forces, ethnic and religious groups. The Syrian people have been putting up a fight against international terrorism effectively on its own for several years, sustaining sizable losses but it has achieved positive results recently,” Putin said.
Through the meetings, Putin made it clear that Russia seeks to have a leading role in any solutions regarding Syria’s political future, seemingly to ensure Russia’s sphere of influence in the Middle East. He further stated that Russia’s involvement in the Syrian crisis was “necessary,” as around 4,000 people from the former Soviet Union republics were fighting in Syria against the Syrian army. If these insurgents were allowed to return to Russia, Putin said, they might foment insecurity, and create violence at home.
For more information, please see—
Huffington Post–Bashar Assad Meets With Vladimir Putin – In Moscow— 21 October 2015
Russian Times– Assad to Putin at Moscow talks: Terrorists would seize larger areas if Russia did not act— 21 October 2015
Washington Post– In rare foreign trip, Assad flies to Moscow to meet with Putin— 21 October 2o15
Mail & Guardian– Putin meets Assad – runs rings around Western critics— 22 October 2015