BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):
President Vladimir Putin says Russian troops will leave Syria when the war is over if the Syrian government asks them to.
Russia entered the Syrian civil war in 2015 to back its longtime ally President Bashar Assad, helping the government retake most of the territory held by rebels. Russia currently operates an air base and a naval base in Syria.
The Kremlin has criticized U.S. military involvement in Syria, saying it is not authorized by the United Nations or by the Syrian government.
Speaking at an energy conference in Moscow, Putin said that all foreign troops should leave Syria when hostilities cease. Asked if Russia would be willing to leave as well, Putin said Russia would withdraw its troops if the Syrian government asks it to.
President Bashar Assad has told a little-known Kuwaiti newspaper that Syria has reached a "major understanding" with other Arab states after years of hostility over the country's civil war.
The interview in the Al-Shahed newspaper, published Wednesday, was Assad's first with a Gulf newspaper since the war began in 2011.
He does not name the Arab countries, but says Arab and Western delegations have begun visiting Syria to prepare for the reopening of diplomatic and other missions.
Syria's membership in the 22-member Arab League was suspended in the early days of the war, and Arab countries later imposed economic sanctions.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have supported opposition groups fighting to overthrow Assad.