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Syrian troops, allies liberate vast area in NE Aleppo

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Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have liberated dozens of areas in the northwestern province of Aleppo from Takfiri Daesh terrorists as they continue to score victories in arduous battles against extremists across the country.

An unnamed military source told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Syrian troops and their allies had established full control over Dayr Hafir city, located 50 kilometers east of the provincial capital city of Aleppo, on Wednesday.

The source added that Syrian forces also retook 27 villages on the outskirts of Aleppo 24 kilometers of the highway linking Aleppo to the Daesh-held northern city of Raqqah.

Elsewhere in the strategic and mountainous region of Qalamoun, Syrian government forces and fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement thwarted an infiltration attempt by Nusra Front, also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, terrorists.

SANA reported that a number of militants were killed and injured in the process.

Syrian opposition, Russian diplomat agree on ceasefire reinforcement

Meanwhile, delegates from the foreign-sponsored and armed Syrian opposition have met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in the Swiss city of Geneva, and agreed on shoring up a shaky ceasefire that took effect in December last year.

Gatilov said the ceasefire, which is supported by Russia, Iran and Turkey, is “more or less being maintained,” but major powers need to do more to ensure its reinforcement.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov (4th R) looks on at the opening of a meeting with delegates of Syria’s main opposition High Negotiations Committee during the Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

 

“Here, we need the support and involvement of all parties, including external players, not only the three guarantors, but some other countries who also have influence on the parties on the ground,” the Russian diplomat told reporters.

The remarks come as Russia plans to hold the next round of ceasefire talks in the Kazakh city of Astana in the first week of May.

Opposition spokesman Salem al-Muslet has suggested that envoys affiliated with militant groups in Syria would likely boycott the negotiations.

Since the beginning of this year, Iran, Russia and Turkey have mediated three rounds of peace negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups in Astana.

The first round, which took place in January, brought together representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups for the first time during six years of conflict, paving the way for the resumption of the stalled UN-led negotiations on the Syria crisis.

The trio have agreed on the establishment of a mechanism to support the truce, underlined the importance of maintaining the national sovereignty of Syria, and stressed that to the conflict in the Arab country will be resolved through political means.

‘Renewal of Moscow-Washington cooperation on Syria crisis still possible’

Furthermore, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has hinted at chances for the revival of cooperation between his country and the United States to formulate a solution to the Syrian conflict.

“President Donald Trump said that fighting terrorism is his number one international goal, and I believe this is absolutely natural. We will be sharing this approach, I am sure,” Lavrov said in an interview published on The National Interest website on Wednesday.

Lavrov also said he is still in talks about a possible meeting with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson.

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

 

The US State Department announced in October last year that Washington had “suspended” bilateral contacts with Moscow over the Syrian crisis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “disappointed” by the decision, and accused the US of seeking to shift blame for its own failure in Syria.

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