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Assad made his first foreign visit in four years. Guess where he went?

A Kremlin spokesman described it as a “working visit”.
Oct 21st 2015, 8:41 AM 13,121 129

SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR al-Assad made his first foreign visit since Syria’s war broke out in 2011 last night.

Moscow confirmed he held talks with his main backer and counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

“Yesterday evening, the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar al-Assad, made a working visit to Moscow,” a Kremlin spokesman said.

The Syrian presidency later confirmed he had returned to Damascus.

The Kremlin spokesman said Assad had told Putin Russia’s intervention in Syria had helped contain “terrorism”.

assad The meeting last night. Source: RT/Screengrab

Separately, the US and Russia have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ that establishes measures so their pilots steer clear of each other as they conduct separate bombing campaigns in Syria.

It’s a significant step that follows several instances in which Russian and US planes or drones have come close to each other, raising the nightmare prospect of a mid-air collision or some other dangerous encounter.

Speaking to reporters in the Pentagon yesterday, press secretary Peter Cook said the document had been signed earlier in the day and had taken effect immediately.

“There’s a series of protocols in place that effectively are intended to avoid any sort of risk of a mid-air incident between our air crews and Russian air crews,” Cook said.

“If they follow these protocols, we should not have the risk of engagement with Russian air crews over Syria.”

Moscow also reported that both countries had signed the memorandum of understanding, which effectively boils down to some fairly standard air safety protocols.

With reporting from AFP.

Read: What in the name of Putin is Russia up to in Syria?

Read: “Would we choose Isis or the regime? We want neither, we want a third choice…”

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Daragh Brophy

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