Vladimir Putin Greeted at Damascus Airport by Bashar al-Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Damascus on January 7 to meet with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, footage released by the Syrian government showed.

The video shows Assad meeting the Russian leader at the airport.

The visit was only Putin’s second to Syria since Russia began operations in the country in support of Assad’s forces, an intervention that shifted the balance of power in the country’s civil war.

According to reports, Putin visited “the 8th-century Umayyad mosque and an ancient church” in Damascus’s Old City.

Footage taken shortly after Putin’s plane landed in Damascus shows the two leaders on the tarmac, accompanied by other officials, including Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu.

The visit comes amid extreme tensions in the Middle East. On January 3, the US killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Soleimani had overseen Iran’s efforts to bolster the Syrian government. Credit: Syrian Presidency via Storyful