Assad flies to Moscow to thank Putin for air strikes, support

October 22, 2015 12:01 AM

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew to Moscow on Tuesday evening to thank Russia’s Vladimir Putin personally for his military support, in a surprise visit that underlined how Russia has become a major player in the Middle East.

It was Assad’s first foreign visit since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, and came three weeks after Russia launched a campaign of air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria that has also bolstered Assad’s forces. The Kremlin, which said it had invited Assad to visit Moscow, kept the vis...

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