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                                        Volume. 11896
Russia tells U.S. it still supports Assad
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Syria99(14).jpgRussian officials told visiting U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday that Moscow would continue backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's campaign against militants despite peace talks due later this month, Al-Alam reported. 
 
Sherman's visit came ahead of talks in Paris on Monday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that are due to focus on Moscow's push to give Iran a formal seat at the so-called Geneva 2 negotiations.
 
Sherman did not address reporters after her meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, Moscow's two representatives at the Syria conference that is scheduled to begin January 22 in Switzerland.
 
But the Russian foreign ministry said the two Moscow diplomats told Sherman that Assad's campaign against "terrorist groups" deserved comprehensive support.
 
Meanwhile, Syrian army forces have killed dozens of militants who tried to break an army siege of the central city of Homs, reports say.
 
SANA news agency quoted a military source as saying army units "confronted armed terrorist groups" trying to get into the Khaldiya neighborhood north of the rebel area in the Old City in the heart of Homs this week.
 

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