President Bashar al-Assad praised Moscow's policy toward Damascus as "principled" in a recent interview. "We have strong confidence in the Russians, as they have proven throughout this crisis, for four years, that they are sincere and transparent in their relationship with us," he noted.
Not surprisingly, Russia has recently stepped up its efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria without forcing Assad to resign. The new peace initiative involves courting Arab nations. Moscow's logic is simple: Assad is not the enemy, Islamic extremists are.
"Russia's stance on Syria is rigid and consistent. President Putin has made it clear that Assad is Syria's legitimate president and Russia is against foreign involvement [in the country's affairs] which will force the Syrian people to accept certain conditions, like securing peace in exchange for Assad's resignation," the media outlet noted.
Moscow's peace initiative also involved Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed visiting Moscow last week. Sisi, according to the media outlet, could be interested in what Russia has to offer with respect to Syria. Cairo and Damascus are said to be getting closer to each other and could soon restore diplomatic relations.
But the key visit of an Arab leader to Russia has yet to take place. King Salman is expected to meet with President Putin in the near future. Both leaders will likely discuss the deal on the Iranian nuclear program and the fate of Assad.
"Russia's undivided loyalty to its ally in the Middle East has impressed Arab leaders and they are increasingly looking to Moscow in the hopes of receiving Russia's support, as well as signing new arms deals and economic agreements," the media outlet stated. "President Putin has shown that staying true to ones commitments pays off."