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Kerry, Lavrov broach ceasefire zone for Syria

According to Kerry, the pair also discussed the possibility of President Assad opening humanitarian access corridors into the country

Published: Updated:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the possibility of organizing ceasefires in parts of Syria after the pair met in Paris.

“We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localized ceasefire in Aleppo,” Kerry told a news conference after talks with Lavrov in Paris.

Lavrov added that Iran and Saudi Arabia should take part in the upcoming Geneva II talks on Syria, slated for Jan. 22. Meanwhile, Kerry said Iran would be “welcome” at the Geneva II talks if it agrees to a transition of power in Syria away from Assad, the conclusion of the Geneva I conference.

According to Kerry, the pair also discussed the possibility of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad opening humanitarian access corridors into the country which is entering its third year of conflict. Kerry told reporters that Lavrov had told him Assad was considering opening up access to the besieged Damascus suburb of east Ghouta.

Meanwhile, in Syria, The al Qaeda-linked Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant executed dozens of rival Islamists over the last two days as the group recaptured most territory it had lost in the northeastern Syrian province of Raqqa, activists told Reuters on Sunday.

One of the activists, who spoke from the province on condition of anonymity, said up to 100 fighters from the al-Nusra Front, another al Qaeda affiliate, and the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, captured by ISIL in the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the nearby area of Qantari and the provincial capital city of Raqqa, were shot dead.

However, there was no independent confirmation of the report.

(With Reuters)