In a clear signal to the West amid soaring tensions with Iran, Putin attended a high level military briefing at a headquarters in the Syrian capital.
Putin met with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in what Russia's Interfax acknowledged as "a working trip". The timing of the visit is sure to be noticed in Washington, given it comes amid soaring tensions with Iran over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, and as thousands of additional US troops are deployed to the region ahead of looming potential Iranian reprisal attacks.
It marks Putin's first visit to Syria in two years, the last time being December 2017. As part of this latest visit, the Russian president briefly toured the streets in and around Damascus' city center, where he said it's clear that "peaceful life is returning to the streets of Damascus," according to TASS.
The two leaders also discussed the retaking of all of sovereign Syria, after over the past month Syrian and Russian air operations over Idlib have stepped up dramatically.