Putin: too early to speak about sheltering Assad in Russia

AP , Tuesday 12 Jan 2016

ussian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to Germany's Bild newspaper at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, January 5, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says it is too early to speak about granting political asylum to Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Putin ally and arguably the main obstacle in the Syrian peace process.

Russia began carrying out air strikes on the positions of Islamic State fighters in September in support of Assad's army.

Putin said in an interview with the German daily Bild published on Tuesday that Moscow is advocating for a constitutional reform in Syria and if the next election is democratic, "Assad won't have to go anywhere," even if he does not win it.

Russia, the United States, Middle East nations are promoting talks between the Syrian government and opposition, and Assad has been seen as a highly divisive figure.

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