Putin ratifies deal on 'indefinite' Syria deployment

Russia's foreign minister sought Friday to lower expectations before another round of worldwide talks on Syria as fighting continued in the besieged city of Aleppo.

At least eight people were killed and 38 others wounded Friday when Russian and regime warplanes struck opposition-held areas of Syria's northwestern city of Aleppo, according to a local civil defense official.

Churkin said Kerry and Lavrov decided "to revisit" the format they originally discussed three years ago of meeting with a small group of countries that have close ties with moderate opposition groups instead of some 20 countries in the International Syria Support Group, or ISSG, where it was hard to agree on specifics.

A potential agreement may be elusive.

A renewed Syrian army offensive against eastern Aleppo, supported by Russian air power, has claimed hundreds of civilian lives in recent days and prompted Western powers to accuse Assad and his backers of war crimes. The U.S. says the meeting should mainly focus on Russian Federation and Syria halting their bombing of the country's former commercial capital, where 250,000 are trapped, to allow humanitarian access. US hopes of any diplomatic progress appeared to rest squarely on Russia's cooperation. At least 17 people, mainly rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), were killed in the auto bomb blast at a rebel checkpoint near Azaz in the northern province of Aleppo, activists and monitors said.

"With all that said, I'm not expecting we will have some major announcement at the end of this".

Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year, has killed 300,000 people and left millions homeless.

Since the September ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russian Federation collapsed after less than a week, at least 358 civilians have been killed in eastern Aleppo, according to the UK-based monitoring service, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The administration review began with a meeting of top national security and foreign policy officials on 7 October, after it was clear that US-Russian talks on a ceasefire had entirely collapsed. That deal, hammered out over months of negotiations, lasted only a week and led to an immediate stepped-up bombing of Aleppo.

Last week he accused Russian Federation of war crimes for targeting hospitals and civilian infrastructure in Syria. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the situation in Aleppo a "humanitarian catastrophe" on Thursday and accused the rebels of using civilians trapped there as "human shields".

The United Nations says 275,000 civilians still live in the city and 8,000 opposition group members are holding out against Syrian regime, Russian and Iranian-backed forces. It will be the first face-to-face contact between the two men since Washington broke off bilateral diplomatic contact with Moscow earlier this month.

(CNN) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insists his forces must continue "to clean" Aleppo, even as diplomats prepare for a weekend of meetings aimed at halting the bloodshed in rebel-held areas of the city. "This is the importance of Aleppo now", Assad said.

Aleppo has been divided between government- and rebel-controlled areas for years.

"The global community has become immune to images of dead children being recovered from the rubble of buildings ravaged by bombs", said Carlos Francisco, MSF's head of mission in Syria, who described east Aleppo as a "kill box".

Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he had instructed his foreign minister to make a proposal in Lausanne about fighting IS in Syria and Iraq.

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