ALBERT AJI and DARIA LITVINOVA
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Damascus on Tuesday for a meeting with President Bashar Assad, a rare visit that comes amid soaring tensions between Iran and United States following the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.
While the official statements made during the previously unannounced visit made no mention of the killing last week of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the timing was conspicuous.
The U.S. strike that killed Soleimani minutes after he landed in Iraq has drawn vows of retaliation from Tehran and its proxy militias in Baghdad and Beirut. It has also led the U.S. to re-position its troops in Iraq following calls by the Iraqi Parliament and prime minister for U.S. forces to leave