From Damascus Airport, the President travelled to the command post of the Russian Armed Forces group in Syria, where he was met by Bashar al-Assad. The two leaders heard military reports on the situation in various regions of the country.
Later that day, a bilateral meeting was held between the Russian and Syrian delegations. During his talks with Bashar al-Assad, the President of Russia noted that it was now safe to praise the long distance travelled on the way to restoring Syria’s statehood and territorial integrity. There are obvious signs of a recovering peaceful life on the streets in Damascus, Vladimir Putin emphasised.
Bashar al-Assad thanked Vladimir Putin for the visit. The Syrian President expressed gratitude to Russia and the Russian military for their assistance in the fight against terrorism and the restoration of peaceful life in the republic. The Syrian leader warmly congratulated Vladimir Putin and the Russian people on Orthodox Christmas.
After visiting the command post, the Presidents visited the Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Vladimir Putin presented the mosque with a 17th century Quran as a memory of his visit. Afterwards, the President of Russia visited the Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, where he spoke with Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East.