By G9ija

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. ReutersAsharq Al-Awsat

Foreign forces being deployed in Syria without a decision by the United Nations are a hindrance to its consolidation, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad.

The Kremlin said the comments came during a meeting of the two men in the Russian capital, after Putin congratulated Assad on his win in Syria’s presidential election.

“Terrorists had sustained a very serious damage, and Syrian government, headed by you, controls 90% of the territories,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement.

Assad, whose last meeting in Moscow with Putin was in 2015, thanked the Russian leader for humanitarian aid to Syria and for his efforts to halt the “spread of terrorism”.

He lauded what he called a success of Russian and Syrian armies in “liberating occupied territories” of Syria. He also described as “antihuman” and “illegitimate” the sanctions some nations imposed on Syria.