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Turkey's Erdogan, EU's Tusk Say they Discussed Syria 'Safe Zone'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and EU head Donald Tusk said Monday they had discussed Ankara's controversial plan for a safe zone cleared of Islamic State jihadist fighters in northern Syria.

"The European Union is ready to take up all issues with Turkey so we also discussed a possible buffer zone in Syria," Tusk said after meeting Erdogan for talks in Brussels dominated by the migrant crisis and the Syrian conflict.

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Russia Raids Close Door on Political Solution, Say Syria Rebels

More than 40 of Syria's most powerful rebel factions said on Monday that Russia's air campaign had made a political solution to the country's bloody conflict impossible.

In a statement posted online, 41 groups including Jaish al-Islam near Damascus, Ahrar al-Sham in northwest Syria, and the Northern Front said that Russia's "brutal occupation has cut the road to any political solution".

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Germany Voices Doubt Russia Targeting IS in Syria

Germany voiced doubt Monday about Russia's claims that it was targeting Islamic State jihadists rather than moderate rebels with its air strikes in Syria.

"About the... continuing Russian air strikes: We would consider it important to reconcile words and actions," said foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer.

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No Injuries as Roadside Bomb Targets Hizbullah Van in Chtaura

A roadside bomb targeted on Monday a Hizbullah passenger van from Lebanon to Syria, reported LBCI television.

It said that the explosive was placed in an alley behind the Customs building in the Bekaa town of Chtaura.

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Assad Says Failure of Russian-led Alliance would 'Destroy' Whole Region

Syrian President Bashar Assad said in comments broadcast on Sunday that the success of Russia's military intervention in his country's civil war was vital for the whole Middle East.

"The alliance between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran must succeed or else the whole region will be destroyed," he said in an interview broadcast by Iranian state television.

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French PM: Russia Must Not Hit 'Wrong Targets' in Syria

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged Russia on Sunday to direct air strikes at Islamic State jihadists alone in Syria, as the West raises concerns Moscow will target moderate rebel groups opposed to Syria's president.

Speaking to journalists on a visit to Japan, Valls said Russia should not "get the wrong targets", echoing the words of French President Francois Hollande to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Paris summit on Friday.

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British PM: Russia Backing 'Butcher' Assad

Russia is backing "butcher" President Bashar al-Assad with airstrikes that are often not aimed at Islamic State (IS) fighters in Syria, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday.

Cameron said Russian forces were "making the situation worse" as they pressed a bombing campaign in the IS stronghold for a fourth day. 

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Erdogan Urges Putin to Change Mind over Syria Bombing

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to reconsider Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria, accusing the Russian military of turning a blind eye to the killing of dozens of civilians.

Speaking in an interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic, Erdogan expressed anger that whereas Moscow had informed Ankara it would be attacking Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria, it had in fact targeted moderate Syrian rebels.

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Russia Hits IS in Syria Heartland in Defiance of West

Russia bombed the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold Saturday and vowed to press its aerial campaign despite criticism from Washington and its allies that its military action was strengthening the jihadists.

A long-time staunch backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia began sorties over its ally on Wednesday in what it said would be a prolonged bombing campaign against IS and other extremist groups.

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Only 5 Percent of Russian Strikes on Syria Target IS, Says Britain

Only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria have targeted Islamic State (IS) fighters, Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Saturday.

British intelligence services observed that five percent of the strikes had attacked the militant jihadist group, with most "killing civilians" and Free Syrian forces fighting against the regime of president Bashar Assad, Fallon told the Sun newspaper.

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