ALEPPO, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran and Moscow will continue to cooperate in the Syrian war “until the ultimate goal of eradicating terrorism and restoring peace and full security to the region is achieved.”
The comment was delivered in a Saturday meeting in Tehran between Rouhani and Russia’s special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.
In the meeting, Rouhani stressed that the Syrian situation can only be resolved through political dialogue and with full respect for the will of the Syrian people, who he said are the main and ultimate decision makers on the future of the country, according to IRNA.
The U.N. envoy for Syria says he’d tell U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to remember “the lesson we learned in Iraq and Libya” when mapping a strategy to end the six-year-old war in Syria.
Steffan de Mistura told reporters at a Rome news conference on Saturday that “we need to find a political, inclusive solution that includes those who feel disenfranchised, particularly Sunni communities in Iraq and certainly in Syria.”
He says whether the Syrian war ends with a “military victory or a non-military (resolution),” the real solution must be a politically inclusive one involving the region.
Both the U.S.-led war in Iraq that ended Saddam Hussein’s regime and the Western-backed uprising against then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi were followed by factional violence and instability, and left those countries fertile for intrusions by the Islamic State group.
Russia says it’s ready to hold quick talks with the U.S. on the exit of rebels from the besieged city of Aleppo.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave him Washington’s proposals for settling the situation in Aleppo during their Friday meeting in Rome.
Lavrov said Saturday that the U.S. proposals conform to Russia’s longtime offers. He added that Moscow is ready to immediately send its experts to Geneva for talks with the U.S. that would coordinate joint action to “ensure the withdrawal of all rebels without exception from eastern Aleppo, ensure humanitarian supplies to the city residents and the restoration of normal life in eastern Aleppo.”
Russian-backed Syrian government forces have driven the rebels out of several neighborhoods in this week’s offensive.
Syrian warplanes, artillery and mortar rounds have pounded areas in the eastern rebel-held Aleppo enclave, killing at least three, according to opposition activists.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombings in the central al-Shaar neighborhood killed three. The Syrian Civil Defense put the death toll at six.
The bombings Saturday came hours after government troops made new advances on the rebel-held parts of Aleppo city. State media reported that government and allied troops have moved in on new neighborhoods, pushing one kilometer (0.6 mile) deeper into the enclave from the far east. The new advances tighten the government’s grip on the besieged enclave and reduce the territory the rebels hold by more than half.
The new advances also secure the airport road east of Aleppo.
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