Syria: Putin renews call for political deal in Assad visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin has renewed his call for a political solution to the war in Syria, during a rare visit by the Syrian leader. Mr Putin told Bashar al-Assad the military campaign was “wrapping up”, but there was still “a long way to go”. A two-year Russian air campaign has given Syria a clear upper hand in the civil war, which began in 2011. The meeting comes ahead of talks between Syria’s allies Russia and Iran, and Turkey, which backs the rebels. The three powers have increasingly co-operated in…

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Syria’s Assad doesn’t see ceasefire possible within a week

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Venezuelan state television TeleSUR in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria’s national news agency SANA on September 26, 2013. REUTERS/SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday any ceasefire did not mean each side had to stop using weapons, and nobody was capable of securing the conditions for one within a week. “Regarding a ceasefire, a halt to operations, if it happened, it doesn’t mean that each party will stop using weapons,” Assad said in Damascus in…

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