Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Monday in Tehran for talks with Iran about the devastating conflict in Syria where the two nations are allied in support of the authoritarian Damascus regime.
On his first trip to Iran in eight years, Putin met supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's ultimate authority, who has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since an uprising broke out in 2011.
What began as a conflict between Assad's forces and Western- and Gulf-backed rebels has since spiraled into a civil war and multi-faceted fighting that has killed more than 250,000 people.
Attention is currently focused on stopping Islamic State (ISIS) group jihadists, who last year took control of large parts of Syria and surged into Iraq, from breaching Assad's defenses and taking Damascus. (READ MORE)