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Russia and Turkey push Syria's warring sides to seal truce


ASTANA Syria's warring sides met for their first talks in nine months on Monday, with their Russian and Turkish backers pushing to cement a ceasefire that could pave the way for political talks. | Video

Syrian Kurdish YPG says not bound by Astana peace talks outcome 23 Jan 2017

BEIRUT The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Monday it would not be bound by any decision that comes out of peace talks under way in Kazakhstan as it was not involved in the meetings.

Prices soar, families use river water as Islamic State besieges Syrian city 23 Jan 2017

BEIRUT Food prices have soared and families are drinking untreated river water in the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said on Monday, as a siege imposed by Islamic State threatens tens of thousands of civilians.


Syria's warring sides gather for new attempt to break deadlock 23 Jan 2017

ASTANA Syria's warring sides meet in Kazakhstan's capital on Monday with Russia, Turkey and Iran, sponsors of the talks, trying to make progress towards a goal others have repeatedly failed to reach: an end to the six-year-old conflict.

Syrian army nears Turkey-backed rebels in new advance 22 Jan 2017

BEIRUT The Syrian army and its allies on Sunday drove Islamic State from several villages east of Aleppo, a military media unit run by Hezbollah and a war monitor reported, bringing them closer to territory held by Turkey-backed rebels.


Syrian rebels call on Russia to help defend ceasefire 22 Jan 2017

ASTANA A Syrian rebel group called on Russia to withstand pressure from Iran and the Syrian government to help ensure that a ceasefire agreed last month holds, the head of a delegation at peace talks told Reuters on Sunday.

Indonesian authorities detain 17 nationals returning from Syria 22 Jan 2017

JAKARTA Indonesian authorities have detained 17 nationals returning from Syria, including children, suspected of being involved in radical activity, officials told Reuters on Sunday.


U.S. envoy to Kazakhstan to attend Syria talks as an observer 21 Jan 2017

WASHINGTON The U.S. State Department said on Saturday it will not send a delegation from Washington to attend Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital next week due to immediate demands of the transition.

U.S. air strike in Syria kills more than 100 al Qaeda members - Pentagon 20 Jan 2017

WASHINGTON A U.S. air strike on Thursday targeting an al Qaeda training camp in Syria's Idlib province killed more than 100 militants, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.


Islamic State destroys famous monument in Syria's Palmyra - antiquities chief 20 Jan 2017

DAMASCUS/BEIRUT Islamic State militants have destroyed one of the most famous monuments in the ancient city of Palmyra, the Tetrapylon, and the facade of its Roman Theatre, Syrian antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters on Friday. | Video

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Syrian talks open in Astana but hopes are low.

Syria's warring sides met for talks in the Kazakh capital Astana on Monday (January 23), flanked by international supporters. Expectations of a breakthrough are low, however. Lucy Fielder reports.