U.S. and Russia to work on a Syria deal next week

Orient Net - Agencies 2016-08-19 05:12:00

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Top US and Russia diplomats meet next week in Geneva, U.S. officials said Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will gather on Aug. 26, with the talks possibly lasting for two days. At the meeting, officials said, the sides will try to secure a cease-fire and a new U.S.-Russian arrangement to share intelligence and coordinate military, PBS Newshour reported.

The diplomacy comes amid fierce fighting in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and new Russian bombing operations in Syria originating from an Iranian air base, Worthy News reported.

Russia and Iran have backed Assad in its five-year war on Syrians.

As part of the deal, U.S. officials said Russia would have to halt offensives by Assad’s regime, something it has failed to do over months of diplomatic efforts.

The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. They cautioned that the time and place of Kerry’s meeting with Lavrov may yet change.

Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s call for Assad to leave power. With Russia protecting Assad’s position, the U.S. has backed off from demanding his ouster in any early phase of a political transition.