Russia, Syria can start work to rebuild Syrian economy, says Putin

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The trip marks Assad's second known exit from Syria since the nation was rocked by a 2011 uprising sponsored by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who held talks in Sochi on Thursday, pointed out the importance of creating further conditions for resumption of a full-fledged process of political settlement in Syria, the Kremlin's Acting Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters upon completion of the meeting. Assad said about it after completion of the talks, TASS reported.

A transcript of Thursday's meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting "terrorism", which "opens the door to the political process".

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes time has come for rebuilding the Syrian economy and suggested Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss these plans.

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Assad previously visited Russian Federation and met Mr Putin in November 2017 and October 2015.

Russia's entrance reversed Assad's losses, giving his armed forces and their allies, which include a number of Iran-backed militias, the opportunity to besiege and reclaim almost every major population center in the country.

Even though government forces have almost gained full control of areas surrounding the capital from rebel forces, they are still battling remnants of Islamic State militants south of Damascus.