Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, met Russian President Vladimir Putin during an unannounced visit to Moscow.
There Putin congratulated Assad on his re-election to a fourth term this year, while praising him for taking back 90-percent of Syrian territory and helping Russian-Syrian trade turnover to grow 3.5 times in 2021.
During the talks, the Russian leader also criticized U.S. and Turkey-backed troops that he said are preventing Assad from consolidating the country and moving along the path of reconstruction.
"The main problem in my view is that foreign military forces without the permission of the U.N. and without your sanctioning are present in some territories of the country. Which contradicts international law. This does not give you an opportunity to use maximum efforts for the consolidation of the country, and to move on the path of its restoration as fast as you could if the whole territory of the country was controlled by the legal government."
Russia's assistance allowed Assad to recapture large parts of Syria from rebels and jihadists during the country's decade-long civil war, which has killed roughly half-a-million people, while displacing millions of Syrians.
Assad thanked Russia for its military support, as well as humanitarian assistance.