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Report: Russia Sends Brand New Cruise Missile Ship to Syria

Russia has dispatched a new ship armed with cruise missiles to the Mediterranean, the navy announced Saturday, as reports said it is bound for Syria.

The Zelyony Dol, a patrol ship armed with Kalibr cruise missiles that only joined the Black Sea fleet in December, departed for the Mediterranean, the Black Sea fleet said in a statement.

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Assad 'Deluded' in Claiming Military Solution, Says U.S.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is "deluded" if he thinks there is a military solution to the war in Syria, nearly five years into a brutal conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people, a U.S. official said Friday.

In an exclusive interview with AFP released earlier, the defiant Syrian strongman vowed to recapture Syria as a whole and keep "fighting terrorism."

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Syria Opposition Says Rebels Must Decide on Ceasefire

A key Syrian opposition body said Friday that a proposed pause in fighting in the country would have to be examined and decided upon by rebel forces on the ground.

The comments came a day after world powers agreed an ambitious plan for a "cessation of hostilities" across Syria to begin within a week.

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Turkey Says 100,000 Refugees in Border Camps inside Syria

Some 100,000 Syrian refugees are being looked after in camps inside Syria close to the Turkish border, including 35,000 who this month fled a Russian-backed regime offensive in northern Aleppo province, a top Turkish official said Friday.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, whose country has come under increasing pressure to open its border to people fleeing the violence, said the refugees were being accommodated in nine camps just across the border with Syria.

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51,000 Displaced since Russian Air Strikes on Aleppo Began

Some 51,000 people have been displaced since Damascus, backed by Russian air strikes, launched its latest offensive on the Syrian city of Aleppo last week, the United Nations reported Thursday.

"Since the latest offensive by Government forces began last week in the Governorate of Aleppo, reportedly accompanied by numerous air strikes by Russian and Syrian aircraft, some 51,000 civilians have been displaced and a further 300,000 are at risk of being placed under siege," U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement.

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Turkey Tries 'People Smugglers' over Syrian Toddler's Death

Two suspected people smugglers went on trial in Turkey on Thursday charged with causing the death in September of a Syrian toddler the picture of whose lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach shocked the world.

The trial of Syrian nationals Muwafaka Alabash and Asem Alfrhad opened at the criminal court in the western Turkish resort of Bodrum, the Dogan news agency reported. If convicted, they face up to 35 years in jail.

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Turkish PM Slams 'Hypocritical' Calls to Open Borders

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Wednesday slammed as "hypocritical" calls by some countries urging Ankara to open its borders to Syrian refugees while failing to demand Russia halts punishing air strikes.

Turkey is under mounting pressure to open its border to people fleeing a Russian-backed assault by the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad in the north of the war-torn country.

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Iran Blames 'Terrorists' for Syria Peace Talks Collapse

Iran blames the failure of Syria peace talks on the participation of "terrorists", state media said Wednesday ahead of an international meeting to try to get the process back on track.

"What created problems at the recent Syria meeting in Geneva was not having differentiated between the opposition and terrorists," Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told U.N. envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura by telephone, according to state broadcaster IRIB.

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Germany Hopes Syria Talks in Munich Will Agree Aid

Germany hopes diplomatic talks on Syria it is hosting this week will agree to provide humanitarian relief to Aleppo and other cities besieged by Russian-backed regime forces, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will be among participants at talks in Munich on Thursday which could discuss suspended U.N.-brokered talks.

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Syrian Kurds Open Moscow Office, amid Kremlin Push

Syrian Kurdish separatists on Wednesday opened a representation in Moscow amid a push by the Kremlin to have them included in Syria peace talks despite Turkey's objections.

"This is a historical moment for the Kurdish people," Merab Shamoyev, chairman of the International Union of Kurdish Public Associations, said at the ceremony in an industrial neighborhood in southeast Moscow.

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