President Bashar Assad has traveled to Moscow in his first known trip abroad since war broke out in Syria in 2011, meeting his strongest ally, Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The two leaders stressed that military operations in Syria— in which Moscow is the latest and most powerful addition— must lead to a political process.
The surprise visit Tuesday reflects renewed confidence from the embattled Syrian president after Russia and Iran, another staunch ally, dramatically escalated their support recently as Moscow began carrying out airstrikes on Syrian insurgents and Tehran sent hundreds of ground forces. Assad said Russia's intervention was in line with international law and praised it as an effort to rid Syria and the region of terrorism.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.