Russia’s Putin visits Syria to meet Assad, a key Iran ally

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has traveled to Syria to meet with President Bashar Assad, a key Iranian ally. The rare visit Tuesday comes amid soaring tensions between Iran and the United States following the U.S. drone strike last week that killed a top Iranian general who led forces supporting Assad in Syria’s civil war. The general’s death has sparked calls in Iran for revenge. Some 600 American troops are based in eastern Syria, making the country a potential site of conflict with Iran. The slain Iranian general led Iran’s armed support for Assad in Syria’s now nearly 9-year-old civil war.