PARIS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the possibility of a ceasefire in Syria ahead of peace talks in Switzerland later this month.
"We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire (in Syria), maybe a localized ceasefire beginning with Aleppo," the U.S. top diplomat told a news conference after talks with Lavrov and UN-Arab League envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Paris.
Talking about whether Iran should attend the Syria peace talks to be held in Montreux of Switzerland on Jan. 22, Kerry said only if Tehran agrees to principles set out in the first Syria peace conference held in Geneva in June 2012, including the creation of a transitional government in the country.
"Iran has yet to state whether or not it supports implementing the Geneva 1 communique," he said.
For his part, Lavrov reiterated Moscow's support for including Iran in the peace talks. "It's quite clear Iran and Saudi Arabia should participate in this conference," he said.
Syrian army recaptures 5 towns near Aleppo's airport
DAMASCUS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army said Monday that it had recaptured five towns east of Aleppo and thus enhanced the security around the northern city's international airport, state- run SANA news agency reported.
The Syrian army recaptured al-Nakkarin, al-Zarzour, al-Taaneh, al-Subeihieh and Height 53 in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, eliminated a large number of "terrorists" and seized their weapons and ammunition, an army statement said. Full story
Syrian rebels fire on aid convoy to Palestinian refugee camp
DAMASCUS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Rebels inside a Palestinian camp in Damascus fired at relief shipments near its entrance, forcing the convoy to return without delivering aid to the refugees, the camp's popular committee said Monday.
In a statement, the committee said "armed terrorist groups" opened fire at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) aid convoy for the Palestinian refugees trapped in the rebel-held al-Yarmouk camp, adding: "terrorists inside the camp insist on starving the locals and using their suffering as a political tool. " Full story
Syrian gov't to convey Assad's "directives" during Geneva II: deputy FM
DAMASCUS, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Sunday that the Syrian government will participate in the upcoming Geneva II peace conference and will convey the "directives" of President Bashar al-Assad, the state- run SANA news agency reported.
"We will go to Geneva after several days and will convey the directives of President Bashar al-Assad, who has the final say in Syria," Mekdad said. Full story