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Putin meets with Assad, declares Syria ready for 'political process'
18 May 2018, 05:29 | Opal Carroll
Syrian President Assad tells Putin: 'Door open to political process'
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who held talks in Sochi on Thursday, discussed engagement of Russian companies in the rebuilding of the Syrian Arab Republic. The UN has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict.
"With the start of the political process in its most active phase, foreign armed forces will withdraw from Syrian territory", Putin said, without specifying which foreign forces. "I have always said, and now I repeat once again, that we always enthusiastically support the political process, which should go hand in hand with the fight against terrorism", Assad said.
In a statement from the Syrian presidency, Mr Assad said "we have evaluated the political process" and will select candidates for a constitutional committee, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi, that will work with the United Nations.
The two leaders discussed the ongoing clashes in Syria between pro-Assad forces and civilian rebels.
Russian Federation has been one of Assad's most critical allies throughout the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Assad previously visited Russia and met with Putin in November 2017 and October 2015, and Putin traveled to the Russian air base in Syria last December to announce a scale-back of the Russian military presence there. "Now, we can make next moves jointly with you".
Mr Putin also congratulated Mr Assad on the "successes of the Syrian government's army in the fight against terrorist groups".
The opposition and its Western backers have demanded he step aside as part of a political transition, something the Syrian government has adamantly rejected.
Frontier adds ABQ-San Antonio flight
The new San Antonio route comes on the heels of the airline's new service to Austin, Texas , which launched in April. The routes will operate between two and four times per week and start out as seasonal.