The President congratulated Mr Assad on the successful completion of major operations to liberate the city of Palmyra. The operations were conducted by the Syrian Armed Forces with support from Russia’s Aerospace Forces. Russia’s Defence Ministry has been instructed to provide maximum assistance to Syria in clearing mines from the liberated areas, given their world cultural heritage significance. Mr Putin told Mr Assad about his telephone conversation with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and said he hopes that international experts will be able to start preservation and restoration work in Palmyra immediately after the mine-clearing operations are completed.
Mr Assad expressed his gratitude for the effective support the Syrian Armed Forces received from Russia’s Aerospace Forces during the operations to liberate the city from ISIS fighters. Mr Assad noted that the terrorists have caused substantial destruction in the town and looted objects of cultural value, and he hopes the international community will take an active part in efforts to rebuild this centre of global historical significance.
Mr Assad gave a high assessment of Russia’s political and diplomatic efforts to facilitate the start of talks on resolving the situation in Syria. Both leaders expressed the hope for progress in the dialogue between the different parties to the conflict in Syria, and in carrying out constitutional reform in the country.