Baku. 22 January. REPORT.AZ/ Vladimir Putin asked Bashar al-Assad to step aside, Report informs citing the Financial Times.
Just weeks before his death on January 3, Colonel-General Igor Sergun, director of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, was sent to Damascus on a delicate mission. The general, who is believed to have cut his teeth as a Soviet operative in Syria, bore a message from Vladimir Putin for President Bashar al-Assad: the Kremlin, the Syrian dictator’s most powerful international protector, believed it was time for him to step aside.
According to FT, Assad angrily refused.Moscow’s military intervention in the conflict in support of Damascus in late September, many in Europe and the US reasoned, had reached its limit. “Mr Putin had taken a look under the bonnet of the Syrian regime,” one senior European intelligence official told the FT “and found a lot more problems than he was bargaining.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on Sergunov mission.