shoigu assad
© Russian Defence Ministry / Vadim Savitsky / AFP
The progress in restoring normality in Syria is being hampered and downplayed in the West, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said, during talks with Bashar Assad, to whom he delivered a message from President Putin.

Shoigu and Assad met in Damascus on Tuesday to discuss the joint anti-terrorist efforts as well as issues around Russian humanitarian aid to Syria and the return of refugees, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The two countries have achieved "significant results" in tackling the international terrorist threat since Syria requested Russia's help in 2014, the minister said. "The main thing is that we have managed to preserve the Syrian state and create conditions for the people to return to peaceful life."

However, not everybody is pleased with such a situation, as "the Western states are trying to minimize all the positive developments in Syria and create new obstacles to the conclusion of the crisis." Assad in turn said that some countries only fought terrorism in their statements but in reality supported armed militants and are to blame for the large number of civilian casualties during the conflict.