Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on Thursday and said their "military success" in Syria allowed for a large-scale "political process" leading to the withdrawal of foreign forces and the country's reconstruction.
A transcript of Thursday's meeting released by the Kremlin quoted Assad as saying that Syria is making progress in fighting "terrorism", which "opens the door to the political process".
In a statement from the Syrian presidency, Mr Assad said "we have evaluated the political process" and will select candidates for a constitutional committee, a suggestion proposed in January at a summit in Sochi, that will work with the United Nations. It said that Russian Federation welcomes and supports this decision based on agreements reached in national dialogue meetings in Sochi.
Putin held talks with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, ahead of his meetings with European leaders.
"And of course, the next task is economic recovery and humanitarian assistance to the people who found themselves in a hard situation", the Russian president said. His first trip was reportedly to Moscow in October 2015, a month after Russian Federation staged a military intervention in Syria at his request.
"Now we can take the next steps together with you", Putin told Assad.
He said "terrorists have laid down arms in Syria's key points, which has made it possible to rebuild Syria's infrastructure, push them back, and practically stop their activity close to the Syrian capital".
Assad said he is committed to political reform, without elaborating. More than 450,000 people have been killed and 11 million have been displaced from their homes.