Putin, Assad discuss rebuilding Syria, regional issues

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted Syrian leader Bashar Assad for talks in the Kremlin that focused on rebuilding Syria after a devastating civil war and efforts to stabilize the region. Welcoming Assad at the start of Wednesday’s meeting that comes on the anniversary of Syria’s 12-year uprising-turned-civil war, Putin emphasized the Russian military’s “decisive contribution” to stabilizing the country. Russia has waged a military campaign in Syria since September 2015, teaming up with Iran to allow Assad’s government to fight back armed opposition groups and to reclaim control over most of the country. While Russia has concentrated its military resources in Ukraine, Moscow has maintained its military foothold in Syria.