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Russia: ‘We Are Close’ to Deal With US on Aleppo

A ball of fire rises following a Syrian government air strike that hit rebel positions in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 5, 2016.

Russia and the United States are close to reaching an understanding on Syria’s Aleppo, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying Thursday.

“In the past several days an intensive document exchange on the situation in Aleppo has taken place,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

“We are close to reaching an understanding, but I want to warn against high expectations,” Ryabkov added.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia have rejected previous calls for truce for the war-torn city, keeping up the military offensive that has squeezed and forced rebels to retreat in several areas.

The Kremlin said Wednesday that a potential U.S.-Russia deal to allow Syrian rebels to safely leave Aleppo was still on the agenda.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Hamburg later Thursday after the two men held talks Wednesday.

Ryabkov said the Kerry-Lavrov talks were extensive but said a final deal has not been worked out yet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.