October 16, 2018 / 8:18 AM / a month ago

Syria's Assad plans Crimea visit, in talks about passenger flights - agencies

MOSCOW, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has tentative plans to visit Crimea in April 2019 and is in talks about starting regular passenger flights between Syria and the Black Sea peninsula, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.

The agencies cited members of a Crimean delegation visiting Syria this week, which includes the Russian-backed prime minister of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov.

Crimea has been under Western sanctions since it was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

Russia is a key ally of Assad in Syria’s seven-year long conflict and the leaders of two other Russia-backed breakaway regions, Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia, also visited Damascus this year. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova Writing by Andrey Kuzmin Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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