On April 16, the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz held a meeting with Valentina Matviyenko who is the holder of Russia's upper house and led a delegation of the Russian Federation Council to Riyadh. This came after the U.S. attacked a Syrian airbase with 59 tomahawk cruise missiles in retaliation for their use of chemical weapons on their own people. The discussion between both leaders happened to be over the view that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad needed to be removed after years of Syrian conflict which has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Saudi King flexible with Assad's removal

The view that Assad should be removed from power has long been held by the U.S. and its Western allies but one that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia's neighbor Iran disagree with. Blasting News published an article about this view and the states that are engaged in the fight against Assad's forces or to defend him -- Russia being one of them -- where it explains that the Saudis are arming and therefore supporting the rebels there. Ilyas Umakhanov who is a spokesman for the Russian delegation said that the 81-year-old Saudi King did not make demands that Assad is removed and that he appeared to be flexible with the idea. But being that Russian state media presents an entirely different view of realities on the ground there, the Russian interpretation of what the Saudi King would accept should certainly be questioned.

Pressure on Russia, changing conditions

The Saudi investment in Syria is great enough that a toppling of the regime would not be entirely unlikely. But he also said that the "Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir proposed a transitional period, during which Assad could resign as Syrian president." But Assad stepping down willingly is something that many see as unlikely and unless Russia is interested in stepping away from their support for the Syrian regime, there is no indication that it would.

In another Blasting News report, some experts suggested that when the U.S. informed the Russians that they were going to strike the airbase, that they did not tell the Syrians, which was suggested as intentional (as payback for the chemical weapons attacks they conducted days before).

The reasons for this as expressed by some experts is that Russian President Vladimir Putin might have been embarrassed after coming across as a global hero in 2014, for helping to remove those chemical weapons, only to make them look as if they hadn't.

Since the attacks, the U.S. Secretary of State has tried to put pressure on the Russian government saying that there is no future for them to hold onto Assad and that they should side with the Western alliances to denounce him and acknowledge that he must go. In a recent development on the ground, Hezbollah -- who are helping the Assad regime as a fighting force -- are turning over hilltop military bases to the Lebanese army which is said to free up hundred of fighters who are backed by Iran. Its been reported that Hezbollah leaders are having a hard time maintaining reasons to keep fighting in Damascus, taking serious casualties since being involved in 2013.