Russia will help defend Syrian sovereignty, Putin tells Assad

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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in a new year’s greeting that Russia will continue supporting Syria’s efforts to defend its sovereignty, the Kremlin said on Saturday, reported by Reuters.

Earlier this month Putin ordered the Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing from the country, but said Russia would keep its Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province as well as its naval facility at Tartous “on a permanent basis”.