DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a telephone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday, praised the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying it was a “correction of history.”
Damascus is a staunch ally of Moscow which intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 by launching airstrikes to support the Assad regime’s struggling forces.
Assad spoke to Putin a day after Russian forces invaded Ukraine on the orders of the Russian president, drawing strong international condemnation.
“President Assad stressed that what is happening today is a correction of history and a restoration of balance in the global order after the fall of the Soviet Union,” said a statement from the Syrian presidency.
Assad also said that “Syria stands with the Russian Federation based on its conviction that its position is correct and because confronting NATO expansionism is a right for Russia.”
Russia’s intervention in Syria marked a turning point in the conflict.
It enabled pro-regime forces to wrest back lost territory in a series of victories against rebels and jihadists involving deadly bombardments and massive destruction.
More than 63,000 Russian military personnel have deployed to Syria, Moscow says.
During Friday’s phone call, Assad said “Western nations bear responsibility for the chaos and bloodshed,” accusing them of using “dirty methods to support terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine.”
The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions more since it began with Assad’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011.