Putin calls on Middle East nations to unite behind Assad in fight against ‘evil’ in Syria
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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia on Monday, June 29, 2015.MOSCOW — In a surprise meeting with Syria’s foreign minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged his support Monday for Syrian President Bashar Assad and called on all Middle East nations to join forces to fight Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants.
The war in Syria, which began with protests in March 2011, has killed more than 220,000 people. Russia, which has traditionally strong ties to Syria, has been seen as a key to a peaceful solution and has previously rebuffed suggestions that Assad’s resignation could help end the war.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday then was whisked to the Kremlin to meet with Putin.
Putin told the Syrian envoy that Russia’s “policy to support Syria, the Syrian leadership and the Syrian people remains unchanged.”
Speaking after the meeting, al-Moallem said he was assured that “Russia will continue to help Syria politically, economically and militarily.”
Putin also urged other Middle East countries to help Syria fight the armed Islamic factions that now control parts of the Syrian capital and large parts of the city’s suburbs.
Putin said Moscow’s contacts with the countries in the region, including with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, “show that everyone wants to contribute to fight this evil,” he said, referring to ISIL militants.Everyone wants to contribute to fight this evil
He exhorted all nations in the region, whatever their relations with Syria are, to “pool their efforts together” to fight Islamic militants.
Original source article: Putin calls on Middle East nations to unite behind Assad in fight against ‘evil’ in Syria