State hints at progress on revived U.S.-Russia talks on Syria

The State Department on Thursday indicated there could be some imminent progress between the U.S. and Russia on a way to restart negotiations over how to reduce the violence in Syria, and specifically in Aleppo.

The U.S. and Russia recently resumed bilateral talks on Syria, after Secretary of State John Kerry shut off the talks after a humanitarian aid convoy was bombed. The U.S. said only Russia or Syria could have been behind that attack.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters that the U.S. and Russia are still talking about the “modalities” of the talks, which involves figuring out who would be involved in the substantive talks and what topics would come up. But she said some progress could be announced soon.

“The specific nature of those talks … are still being worked out. As these technical discussions are finalized, I’ll have more to offer,” she said. “It might be later today, it might be tomorrow.”

She said Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke today by phone.

“They agreed to continue discussions about establishing a framework for a cease-fire that will allow the delivery of aid, of desperately needed humanitarian aid, as well as the safe departure of those who wish to leave the city,” she said.

Reports on Thursday said the Syrian army may have suspended operations in order for civilians to flee the city of Aleppo. But Trudeau said the U.S. had “no confirmation of that.”

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