Putin must nudge Syria into U.N. peace deal, mediator says

GENEVA – U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura urged Russia on Wednesday to convince its ally the Syrian government of the need to clinch a peace deal to end the nearly seven-year-old war. De Mistura, speaking on Swiss television station RTS, said failure to make peace quickly through United Nations mediation could lead to “a fragmentation of Syria”. Russian President Vladimir Putin during a surprise visit on Monday to Russia’s Hmeymim air base…

"Putin must nudge Syria into U.N. peace deal, mediator says"

U.S. wary of Putin’s declaration of military victory in Syria

WASHINGTON – The United States is voicing skepticism about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a major withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria and is arguing that his declaration of victory against Islamic State was premature. Putin, during a surprise visit on Monday to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria, declared that the work of Russian forces was largely done in backing the Syrian government against militants in the country’s war following the defeat of…

"U.S. wary of Putin’s declaration of military victory in Syria"

France’s Le Drian says ‘no’ to Iran Mediterranean axis

PARIS – France’s foreign minister criticized Iran’s regional ambitions, saying Paris could not accept Tehran’s military expansion to the Mediterranean, and accused Russia of failing to use its influence to push U.N.-led Syrian peace talks and curb violence. Speaking in an interview with France 2 television to be broadcast later on Tuesday as part of a documentary on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was time for Moscow and Tehran to work…

"France’s Le Drian says ‘no’ to Iran Mediterranean axis"

Russia will keep bases in Syria to strike at insurgents: Kremlin

MOSCOW – Russia will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against insurgents if required after a partial military pull-out announced by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. Putin on Monday ordered “a significant part” of Moscow’s military contingent to start pulling out of Syria, declaring their work largely done. Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to the Russian Hmeymim air base, where he…

"Russia will keep bases in Syria to strike at insurgents: Kremlin"