Putin spoke with Assad about the military operation in Syria
Putin and Trump recently met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Vietnam
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for “a little over an hour” Tuesday morning, discussing a range of pressing international concerns a day after Putin met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a White House official told CNN.
The two leaders discussed the situation in Syria and terrorism more broadly, the official said, as well as the state of affairs in Afghanistan, Ukraine and North Korea. The White House was expected to release a full readout of the call later Tuesday.
The call was expected to focus on the state of the Syrian civil war following Putin’s rare face-to-face meeting with Assad on Monday, where the two leaders spoke about military operation and the need to launch political processes in the country, according to a Russian government statement.
“I believe that the problem of terrorism is a global one, a lot should be done to achieve a complete victory over terrorism, but as far as our cooperation in the fight against terrorists in Syria goes, the military operation is really coming to an end,” Putin said.
The discussions are just the latest on Syria between Trump and Putin, who have sought to work together to bring about resolution to the years-old conflict a that has ravaged the country – slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Syrians and causing hundreds of thousands more to flee.
Putin and Trump most recently met informally on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam, where the two leaders had a few encounters and handshakes during “family photos.”
The informal talks resulted in a joint statement from the US and Russia in the Syrian conflict that said the two leaders “agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” and pledged to work to develop an “ultimate political solution” to the conflict.
Trump came into office hoping to work with Putin to bring fresh solutions to end the Syrian Civil War, in which the US has supported moderate anti-government rebels while Moscow has bolstered Syrian government forces.
Those efforts have been marked by a halting pace, as the relationship has been strained in part by the domestic political situation in the US stemming from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The US and Russia also have wildly different visions for the future of Syria, with the two countries staking out different positions on Assad’s future in the country and the involvement of rebel factions.
Trump and Putin have had some success on Syria, brokering a ceasefire in southwest Syria last summer.