10:25 GMT29 February 2020
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    The Russian leader believes that the victory over terrorism in Syria is more important at the moment than establishing a political dialogue.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the victory in the fight against terrorism in Syria should come before any concrete dialogue on political reconciliation in the war-torn country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

    "We consider a priority task at present, as President Putin said at a meeting with [German Vice-Chancellor] Gabriel, is the fight against terrorism and extremism in Syria," Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

    "At least, as the president said, striking a significant blow at terrorist and extremist groups. After that, we could talk in concrete detail about the political settlement," Peskov stressed.

    The Kremlin spokesman also stressed that Moscow supported the widest possible discussion of a political settlement in Syria including all regional stakeholders.

    Syria has been in a civil war since 2011, with opposition factions and Islamist terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and the Nusra Front fighting the Syrian Army.

    Russia has been conducting precision airstrikes at Islamic State militant group positions in Syria at the request of President Bashar Assad since September 30. Several hundreds of militants have been killed, dozens of command centers and depots destroyed since the beginning of Russia’s aerial campaign, according to the Russian General Staff.

    Moscow has also supported Syrian political settlement, hosting two rounds of intra-Syrian reconciliation talks in 2015.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that regional powers like Iran, Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan should participate in discussions on the political settlement of Syria.


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