Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Damascus last year was not unexpected for his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, but there was an agreement between them not to disclose specific details of the trip until the Russian leader arrived.
“Well, it wasn’t sudden for him. I could not appear in Damascus without his invitation. It’s just ruled out,” Putin said in an interview for the film “Without a Right to Wrong. A Christmas Visit to Damascus” on the Rossiya 1 TV channel on Thursday, January 7.
According to Putin, the Syrian leader invited him. He added that he and Assad “worked together in a very productive, meaningful and useful way during personal meetings.”
“But we agreed that information about my visit, about the specific time and places of our work, places of visits, it will not be made public until I appear there,” the Russian president said.
According to him, such an agreement was reached because of “the need to ensure security in the situation that Syria and the Syrian capital Damascus were in a year ago.”
On January 7, 2020, Putin and Assad met at the command post of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria. They heard reports on the situation in different parts of that Arab republic. The politicians also held bilateral talks. The Russian leader said that the joint efforts of both states make it possible to eliminate the most dangerous leaders of terrorist groups. According to him, Syrians not only protect their country from militants but also prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Russia and neighboring countries. Assad expressed gratitude to the Russian side for its support in fighting terrorism and in restoring peace in his country. The presidents then visited the Christian Temple and the Umayyad Mosque, known as the Great Mosque of Damascus.