11:18 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Russian senator calls on to prevent outside pressure during Syria reforms

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    Reforms in Syria require no foreign pressure or interference, said Federation Council Deputy Speaker Ilyas Umkhanov, who led a delegation of Russian senators to Damascus.

    Reforms in Syria require no foreign pressure or interference, said Federation Council Deputy Speaker Ilyas Umkhanov, who led a delegation of Russian senators to Damascus.

    The reforms "should be carried in conditions when no outside pressure is exerted on Syria, and with no foreign interference," senator Umkhanov said.

    The delegation of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad's Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban during the visit to Damascus on Saturday.

    During the visit Shaaban thanked Moscow for "trying to prevent countries in the region from being crushed, no matter under what pretext the West is trying to do it."

    Russian senators are to meet with President Assad and the parliament speaker, Mahmoud al-Abrash, on Sunday

    The delegation will also visit the southern Syrian city of Deraa, where anti-government protests started some six months ago.

    The Syrian government has used force to crush the opposition protests, and at least 2,200 people have died in violence since March, according to the United Nations estimates.

    Moscow favors a political solution to the six-month confrontation between the Syrian authorities and the opposition, while the United States and the European Union have called on Assad to quit.

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