Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Damascus on January 7, 2020, was not unexpected for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but for security reasons it was decided to maintain a semblance of surprise.
"For him [Assad] it was not sudden. I could not come to Damascus without his invitation. It was just ruled out. That's why it was an invitation," Putin told in an interview for Yevgeny Poddubny's documentary "No Right for Error. A Christmas Visit to Damascus," broadcast on Thursday on the Rossiya-1 television channel.
He added that he had agreed in advance with his Syrian counterpart on how and when his visit would be announced. "We have agreed that information about my visit, about the specific time and places of our work, the places of our visit will not be made public until I come there, for reasons that I think are clear, related to the need to ensure security in the situation in which Syria and the Syrian capital Damascus were in a year ago," Putin explained.
The Russian leader also noted that he and al-Assad had then "worked together in a very productive, meaningful and useful way during a personal meeting."
Putin's visit to Damascus took place on January 7, 2020. The Russian head of state, together with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, visited the command post of the Russian group in Syria, located in Damascus, and the Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus. The Russian president also visited St. Mary's Cathedral with al-Assad. Previously, Putin was in Syria in 2017, when all events with the head of state took place at the Hmeimim airfield.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: official website of the President of RF
Based on materials TASS