Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has backed Russia's air strikes in his country. Speaking on Iranian TV, he said the success of a military campaign involving Russia, Syria and its allies was vital to save the Middle East from destruction.
The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran have met in Sochi to discuss strategy in Syria. Meanwhile, some parts of the Syrian opposition forces met in Saudi Arabia ahead of UN-backed peace talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, the Kremlin has revealed. Assad thanked Russia for its support in "fighting terrorism in Syria."
Russia's military plans to reduce its involvement in Syria this year as it nears the completion of its goals there, chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov has said. Two Russian bases are to remain.
Arab foreign ministers have slammed Iranian interference in the Middle East. Arab states sought to present a united front as regional rivalries in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon heat up.
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