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Kerry in Moscow to Urge Putin to Soften Assad Stance

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow on Thursday to see if President Vladimir Putin can be convinced to support an end to Bashar Assad's rule in Syria.

Kerry met his counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and was later to head to the Kremlin for talks with the Russian leader and sound him out on the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

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Syria Allows Aid Deliveries to more Besieged Areas

Syria's government has given a U.N.-backed taskforce permission to deliver aid to more besieged areas, but two opposition strongholds and a city controlled by the Islamic State group remain off limits, a U.N. official said Wednesday.

Jan Egeland, who heads the humanitarian taskforce co-chaired by the United States and Russia, said there has been sustained progress in delivering life-saving supplies.

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No Foreign Powers Should Have Say in Syria Peace Talks, Says Damascus

No foreign power should be permitted to interfere in the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva, the lead government negotiator said, denying that high-level U.S.-Russian meetings in Moscow will impact the process.

"When we say that the dialogue must be between Syrians, without outside intervention, this also applies to the Russians and Americans," Bashar al-Jaafari told AFP in an interview.

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Syrian Refugees Rescue German Neo-Nazi after Car Crash

A German neo-Nazi politician who crashed his car into a tree was rescued by Syrian refugees who happened to be passing, German media reported on Tuesday.

Stefan Jagsch, 29, a member of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), was badly injured in the crash last week, local newspapers and national news agency DPA said.

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Syrian Trapped for a Year at Istanbul Airport Moved to Detention Center

A Syrian refugee who was trapped for over a year at Istanbul's main airport after being refused entry to Turkey has been transferred to a detention center, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Fadi Mansour, who is reported to be in his twenties, left the windowless "problematic passengers room" at Ataturk airport where he was being held for a migrant detention center in Istanbul, Amnesty said.

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Regime Says Assad's Fate Still 'Excluded' from Syria Peace Talks

Syria's regime on Monday reiterated its stance that peace talks in Geneva will not address President Bashar Assad's future, after the U.N. urged Damascus to submit plans for political transition.

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Arab League Rejects Kurd-Led Moves for Federal Syria

The Arab League on Monday rejected Kurdish-led moves for a federal system of government in Syria, charging that they would lead to the break-up of the war-torn country.

League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli said the pan-Arab bloc would not recognize last week's unilateral proclamation by the Kurds and their Arab and Assyrian Christian allies.

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In Assad Heartland, Russian Drawdown Has Syrians Worried

In the sun-soaked coastal city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syria's President Bashar Assad, shopkeeper Khaled says he already misses the sound of Russian warplanes screaming overhead.

When the stylish young man heard that Moscow would pull the bulk of its airforce out of Syria, he was devastated.

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16 Civilians Dead in Unidentified Raids on Syria's Raqa

At least 16 civilians, among them eight children, were killed on Friday in air strikes on the northern Syrian city of Raqa by unidentified planes, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five women were also among the dead in Raqa, the main Syrian bastion of the Islamic State jihadist group.

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Syria Envoy Ducks Talk of Assad Future at U.N. Meet

Syria's government on Friday said it held "useful" talks with the United Nations envoy on a political solution to the conflict, but stopped short of meeting his call for clear plans on a new government.

The Damascus regime's lead negotiator Bashar al-Jafaari spoke for just over a minute after his meeting with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura and refused to take questions.

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