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Russian defence minister meets Bashar Assad in Syria

Russia's defence minister has travelled to Syria to meet with its leader and visit the Russian air base.

The Defence Ministry said on Saturday that Sergei Shoigu met with Syrian president Bashar Assad to discuss military ties and co-operation in fighting "terrorist groups".

Russia has conducted an air campaign in Syria since last September, helping Mr Assad's forces win back some ground.

Mr Shoigu also visited the Hemeimeem air base in the province of Latakia, where he talked with pilots and inspected the S-400 air defence missile systems protecting the base.

A US- and Russian-brokered ceasefire that began on February 27 has helped reduce hostilities, but fierce fighting has continued in many areas.

Islamic State and the al Qaida branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, have been excluded from the truce.


From Belfast Telegraph