Assad meets Putin in Moscow as Syrians mark 12 years since anti-regime uprising

© Vladimir Gerdo, AFP

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered Russian President Vladimir Putin his support in the Ukraine conflict during a visit to Moscow on Wednesday. The meeting between the two leaders in Moscow came as thousands of Syrians demonstrated in rebel-held northwestern Syria to mark 12 years since the start of pro-democracy protests in 2011, which the Assad regime brutally crushed with Russian help.

In a televised meeting with Putin in the Kremlin, Assad said Russia was fighting neo-Nazis and "old Nazis" in Ukraine, according to a Russian translation.

Without offering evidence, Assad said the West had taken in "old Nazis", and was now supporting them.

Kyiv and the West say Russian accusations that Ukraine has become a hotbed of Nazism are a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine.

Welcoming Assad at the start of the meeting that came on the anniversary of Syria’s 12-year uprising-turned-civil war, Putin emphasised the Russian military's “decisive contribution” to stabilising the country.

Assad thanked Putin for backing Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, noting that the Kremlin's support has remained strong despite the fighting in Ukraine.

“Even though Russia now is also conducting the special operation, its position has remained unchanged," Assad said, using the Kremlin's “special military operation” term for the war in Ukraine.

Turkey severed diplomatic ties with Syria soon after the war began.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Egyptian foreign minister to go to Turkey, Syria for first time in decade
Syrian civil war status quo 'unacceptable', UN envoy says
Qatar’s emir 'puzzled' by delay of aid to earthquake victims in Syria