FT: Putin asked Assad to step down

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President Vladimir Putin has asked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. This was published on Friday, January 22 by Financial Times referring to two senior officers of Western intelligence.

According to the newspaper, the former head of the GRU Igor Sergun who died in early January, went to Syria to convey this message to the head of Syria. Assad refused harshly.

According to one source, Assad let Sergun know that relations between Russia and Syria can not develop without the Assad’s leadership.

After beginning of the Russian operations in Syria, Vladimir Putin and the country’s top leaders have repeatedly said that Bashar al-Assad is a legitimate president.

Sergun died on January 3. According to the official version it happened in a holiday house in the Moscow region, caused by acute heart failure. However, Stratfor sources referring to the special report said that Sergun died on January 1 in Lebanon. The source told the FT that Sergun traveled to Damascus a few weeks before his death.

Assad became president of Syria in 2000 in a referendum. Under his leadership, starting from 2011 the government army fights anti-government demonstrations, which later escalated into a civil war. In June 2014 Assad was re-elected for the third time in the first alternative elections. According to official results, he was supported by 88.7% of the population of Syria.

The United States refused to recognize the election results. After the outbreak of civil war, the United States, Turkey, Great Britain and France support the Syrian opposition, and demand the resignation of Assad’s government. Russia supported the government forces, and in September 2015, after the request of Bashar al-Assad, the Federation Council has decided to launch an operation against the terrorists of “Islamic state”.

Later, a spokesman of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov did not confirm this information.

Source: tvrain.ru

 

Image: Beshr Abdulhadi (under CC BY 2.0)