Syria

Russia Tells US It Will Continue Supporting Assad in Syria

Regardless of scheduled peace talks

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Russian diplomats told a top visiting US dignitary on Friday that Moscow would continue backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's campaign against rebel forces despite peace talks due later this month.

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman's visit came ahead of a crunch meeting in Paris on Monday between her boss John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that will focus on Moscow's push to give Syrian ally Iran a formal seat at the so-called Geneva 2 conference.

Russian officials said Lavrov and Kerry would also hold a joint meeting in Paris on Monday with UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.