Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi for talks with his Russian counterpart about Syria's bloody seven-year conflict.
The negotiations were successful, Putin praised and congratulated Assad with the Syrian army's successes in the fight against terrorists.
Putin shakes hands with Assad during their Thursday meeting
The Russian president said the terrorists have laid down their arms in key locations in Syria, allowing for the restoration of Syrian infrastructure.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.
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"The next task, of course, the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Mr Putin added. Merkel has already said that the Syrian war has grown into a conflict of "gigantic proportions", and it is impossible to be solved without backing from Russia, Europe and others - but not the US. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad's regime but also changed the course of the war. The UN has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress towards ending the conflict.
"We know that the political process will not be easy, since there are countries that do not want stability to Syria. However, together with you and our other partners and friends, we will move firmly forward with the peace process", Assad was quoted as saying.
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"And of course, the next task is economic recovery and humanitarian assistance to the people who found themselves in a hard situation", the Russian president said.
But rebel factions still control large parts of northwestern and southwestern Syria, while a Kurdish-led alliance backed by the United States holds most of the northeast.
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Sources said the two leaders will meet for around four to six hours for the "agendaless" talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.