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Russian warships armed with advanced cruise missiles will be deployed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near Syria on a permanent basis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "there were detailed discussions" between the two leaders, who last met in December at a Russian military air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia.

The two leaders have previously met in Russian Federation in November 2017 and October 2015.

At the meeting, which had not been announced in advance, Putin congratulated the Syrian leader on what he said were significant successes on the battlefield achieved by the Syrian military.

Melania Trump and Vladimir Putin speak at a dinner at the G20 summit in Germany on July 7

Russian Federation has been a key ally of Assad throughout the seven-year Syrian civil war when many other countries, including the United Kingdom, wanted to remove him from power. Its military support not only ensured the survival of Assad's government but also changed the course of the war. "The cruise missile attacks and the effective work of the carrier aviation dealt a serious blow to the terrorists, destroying important infrastructure facilities", Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.

"The next task, of course, the economic recovery and humanitarian aid for those people in a hard situation", Mr Putin added. The U.N. has hosted several rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress toward ending the conflict.

"Stability is improving, and all this opens the door to the political process that we started some time ago".

Putin held talks with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, ahead of his meetings with European leaders.

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