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Assad makes last-minute trip to Russia before trilateral summit

The switchboard in Sochi was buzzing as Russian President Vladimir Putin reached out to a number of major players in the Syrian peace process in preparation for Wednesday's Russian-Iran-Turkey summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia November 20, 2017. Picture taken November 20, 2017.  Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1150583BD0

MOSCOW — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a snap, four-hour visit Nov. 20 to Sochi. On Nov. 22, this southern resort city — which is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preferred residence during the cold months — will be hosting the Russia-Iran-Turkey summit. All of the developments are in large part guided by Moscow's efforts to settle the six-year Syria crisis.

Assad's meeting was carried out in utmost secrecy and not announced until the early morning in Moscow, when Assad was back in Damascus.

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