U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone praises Putin for role in Syria
Syria has experienced civil war for several years. /VCG Photo

Syria has experienced civil war for several years. /VCG Photo

American filmmaker Oliver Stone on Wednesday praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "stabilizing force" in the Middle East, particularly in Syria as Moscow fills a void left by U.S. forces pulling out and leaving behind their Kurdish allies.

Stone, the 73-year-old director of "JFK," "Platoon" and "Wall Street" who has long been known for his strident views on U.S. foreign policy, made his comments during the Future Investment Initiative forum in Saudi Arabia, which has long opposed Syrian President Bashar Assad.

While Putin visited both Riyadh and the neighboring United Arab Emirates this month, their differences remain stark over Syria's war, though they may be slowly reconciling with Assad's continued rule. It wasn't clear whether Stone, who made the documentary "The Putin Interviews," realized that before beginning his remarks. 

"Mr. Putin was always concerned about the terrorists," Stone said. "If they had gotten to Damascus and they almost did, there would be a possible caliphate throughout this whole region." 

The director added: "I think Mr. Putin is very concerned about peace."

(With input from AP)