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Deal or no deal? Kerry, Lavrov in anti-ISIS talks

By reaching a deal with Russia, which supports Assad, Washington hopes that it will help launch talks on a political transition in Syria

Published: Updated:

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, will try to hammer out final details of a cooperation agreement on fighting ISIS in Syria during talks in Geneva on Friday.

The hope is that a deal will lead to a cessation of hostilities across Syria and relaunch talks on a political transition in the country.

While Kerry said this week that technical teams from both sides were close to the end of their discussions, US officials indicated it was too early to say whether a deal was likely.

When Kerry launched the Syrian cooperation talks in July on a visit to Moscow, the proposal involved Washington and Moscow sharing intelligence to coordinate air strikes against ISIS and grounding the Syrian air force to stop it from attacking moderate rebel groups.

Kerry believes the plan is the best chance to limit the fighting that is driving thousands of Syrians into exile in Europe and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching tens of thousands more, as well as preserving a political track.

The talks take place just days after Syrian rebels backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes entered Jarablus, one of ISIS’s last strongholds on the Turkish-Syrian border.

By reaching a deal with Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Washington hopes that it will help launch talks on a political transition in Syria.