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Syrian officials, SDF look to Russia for support against Turkey

Opposition group granted 'positive' meeting in Moscow as all sides wait to learn next US move in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin in Moscow on Sept. 13, 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin received his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, in Moscow on Sept. 13 — the first meeting between the two in Russia since 2018. During their talks, Assad referenced former negotiations in Sochi and Nur-Sultan aimed at ending the conflict, yet noted “the political processes which we used to carry out stopped approximately three years ago.” In turn, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the leaders of the two countries discussed cooperation in "combating terrorism and completing the liberation of lands which are still under the control of terrorist organizations.”

The meeting was primarily about the Idlib de-escalation zone, which is under the control of the Turkish military, as well as the terrorist organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the pro-Turkish Syrian National Army (SNA), representing the so-called moderate opposition. The SNA also controls zones named after various Turkish operations in northern Syria, including operations Olive Branch, Shield of the Euphrates and Peace Spring.

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