Putin hosts aide to Iran’s supreme leader amid Syria talks

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the Iranian leader’s top adviser hours after conferring with the Israeli prime minister about Iran’s presence in Syria.

The Kremlin said Thursday that Putin has met with Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but wouldn’t offer any details of the talks. Velayati’s visit came hours after Putin hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Iranian presence in Syria is expected to top the agenda of the upcoming U.S.-Russian summit. Russia, which has teamed up with Iran to shore up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, has warned it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.

A possible deal could see Syrian troops replacing Iranian forces in the areas near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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