by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On Monday, both leaders met in Sochi, Russia, not announced for 24 hours to assure Assad's safe return to Damascus.
Knowledge of his travels outside Syria would risk his assassination, perhaps by a US air-to-air or ground-to-air missile, targeting his aircraft.
Washington ignores rule of law principles, pursuing its imperial agenda extrajudicially, including by assassinating independent foreign leaders.
Post-WW II, the US tried to assassinate dozens of foreign leaders. Many attempts succeeded. Others failed, notably hundreds of failed attempts to kill Fidel Castro.
He died peacefully in Cuba at age-90 on November 25 last year, his ashes laid to rest in a wooden box after nine official days of mourning, interred in a granite boulder, identified with the name "Fidel" in gold letters on a green marble plaque - the only official monument to his memory, in recognition of decades of service to his country and humanity.
Announcing yesterday's Sochi meeting, a Kremlin press statement said the following:
"On November 20, talks took place between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who made a working visit to Russia."
Senior Russian Defense Ministry and General Staff officials were involved. Putin called combating terrorism a global issue, addressing Assad, saying:
"(A) lot should be done to achieve a complete victory over terrorism, but as far as our cooperation in the fight against terrorists in Syria goes, the military operation is really coming to an end."
"I think now the main thing is to move to political processes, and I am pleased to see your readiness to work with everyone willing to establish peace and find solutions."
Assad responded, saying:
"Over this time, huge successes have been achieved, both on the battlefield an on the political level. Many areas in Syria have been liberated from terrorists, and civilians who were forced to leave those areas have been able to return."
"We must admit that the operation made it possible to advance the process of political settlement in Syria."
Russia's aerial support has been key to Syria's liberating struggle from (US-supported) terrorist invaders, Assad stressed. It enabled work toward resolving the conflict diplomatically possible - no easy task given Washington's rage for war and regime change.
Russia and Syria are eager to work cooperatively with all nations seeking an end to years of devastating conflict - Obama's war Trump escalated.
Despite optimism expressed by Putin and Assad, conflict will continue as long as Washington wants war, not peace, along with intending a permanent military presence in northern and southern areas it illegally occupies - an untenable unresolved situation.
Separately on Monday, Russia's envoy to the UN in Geneva and other international organizations, Alexey Borodavkin, said Syrian opposition elements should stick to conflict resolution talks, support de-escalation zones, focus on defeating terrorism, and cease demanding Assad step down.
Syrians alone will decide who'll lead them, free from foreign interference.
Combating terrorism won't end as long as Washington, NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their rogue allies support it.
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