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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia, US edging nearer to agreement to up anti-militant fight in Aleppo: Moscow

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:35PM

Russian military officials say Moscow is close to reaching an agreement with Washington on how to coordinate fight against militants in Syria's war-ravaged city of Aleppo.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday that Moscow and Washington were edging closer to a deal to defuse the situation in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, which has seen an unprecedented surge in fighting over the past months.

Shoigu said in remarks carried by Rossiya 24 television that "... step by step, we are nearing an arrangement," adding that the agreement will be exclusively limited to Aleppo.

The top Russian defense official said the agreement would allow Moscow and Washington "to find common ground and start fighting together for bringing peace to that territory, that long-suffering land so that people could return to their homes."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov vowed earlier in the day that his country could lengthen a three-hour daily humanitarian ceasefire around Aleppo if assurances are made that terrorists will not use it to move into the city.

Russia has been assisting Syria in its fight against militants since late September 2015 upon a request by the Damascus government. Moscow says the sorties have inflicted huge losses on militants in east and northeast of Syria.

Sources in the Syrian army said Monday that government forces and allies managed to retake control of several areas from militants southwest of Aleppo after repelling their new assault.

They said that the terrorists were forced to flee from all positions they had seized a day earlier close to a cement factory near Aleppo following a massive government offensive.

Syrian officials said dozens of terrorists were killed in airstrikes targeting their positions in the area.

According to an estimate by United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since it broke out in March 2011.

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