Russia said on Wednesday it would support President Bashar al-Assad to combat “terrorism” in the Middle East, indicating there was no new room for compromise on one of they key contentious issues in the Syrian conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Assad’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, on the Black Sea as part of Moscow’s renewed diplomatic push to restart peace talks on Syria.
“We share the view that the main factor driving the situation in the Middle East is the terrorist threat,” Lavrov told a joint news conference with Moualem. “Russia will continue supporting Syria … in countering this threat.”
Russia has been the key international ally of Assad in the conflict, which is in its fourth year and where the situation on the ground has deteriorated as Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot, grabbed large swathes of land.