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A Syrian driver flies a national flag as people celebrate in the streets on December 22, 2016 in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, after the army said it regained full control of the country's second city. GEORGE OURFALIAN—AFP/Getty Images

Russia Says a Syrian Ceasefire Will Be Discussed at January Talks

Dec 23, 2016

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday he expected new Syria peace talks backed by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran to take place in the middle of January in Kazakhstan, the Interfax news agency reported.

It cited Gatilov as saying he expected they would focus on discussing what needs to be done to get a nationwide ceasefire for Syria in place.

The foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey held talks on Syria in Moscow on Tuesday after which they said they were ready to help broker a Syrian peace deal.

The United States sought to downplay its absence from the talks, saying it was not a "snub" and did not reflect a decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East.

United Nations Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura has said he intends to convene separate peace talks in Geneva on Feb. 8. The U.N.-backed talks have been held intermittently. Russia says that its talks would complement rather than compete with the U.N. talks.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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