Syria ' s President Bashar al - Assad has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on an unannounced visit to Moscow. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Assad "came on a working visit to Moscow" on Tuesday evening and held talks with Putin. Russia began air strikes in Syria at the end of last month. Moscow says it is targeting Islamic State and other militant groups fighting Assad's government. Peskov told reporters that the two leaders had discussed the fight against what he called terrorist groups, the continuation of Russian air strikes and Syria's plans for its troops. It is not clear if Assad is still in Moscow or has returned to Damascus. It was the first overseas visit made by Assad since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian state TV reports. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.