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Russia urges Syria to talk

As the bloody Syrian conflict enters its 22nd month, foreign diplomats are renewing attempts to end the crisis. Unverified social media footage purports to show the effects of the devastating use of air power by President Bashar al-Assad, as rebels score victories on the ground -- despite some disarray. Now Russia, one of Syria's few remaining allies, is calling for action from Assad's government. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday he urged the Syrian government to meet with opposition forces. His comments followed talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, who took a firmer stance supporting a change in Syrian leadership. Russia has said Assad's removal should not be a precondition for talks and has given him military and diplomatic aid. But Moscow has distanced itself from his embattled government recently and Lavrov warned earlier that time is running out to find a peaceful solution. Although diplomatic efforts to end the conflict have failed thus far, Russia will host UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Saturday following his trip to Damascus and has also invited Syrian opposition leaders for talks.

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