Syrian President Bashar Assad visited Moscow on Tuesday at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in another example of Russia's growing influence in the Middle East.

The two leaders discussed the Russian airstrikes in Syria that support Assad's regime and the Syrian army's plans against rebel groups, as well as a political solution to the civil war, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

The Russians began bombing rebel groups in Syria at the end of September, despite saying they are targeting members of the Islamic State terror group. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called this strategy "tragically flawed" during a speech this month.

"We believe that Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not [the Islamic State.] We believe this is a fundamental mistake," Carter said during a visit to Rome.

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