MOSCOW - A former senior Russian official who recently met Bashar Assad said the Syrian president told him the "active phase" of the military conflict in Syria will be over this year but that the government would continue to fight "terrorists," state-run Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported on Monday.

"To my question about how military issues were going, this is what Assad said: 'This year the active phase of military action in Syria will be ended. After that we will have to shift to what we have been doing all the time - fighting terrorists'," Itar-Tass quoted Sergei Stepashin as saying.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger