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Assad: Taking Aleppo will 'push terrorists back to Turkey'

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U.S. President Barack Obama and his top foreign policy advisers are expected to meet on Friday to consider their military and other options in Syria as Syrian and Russian aircraft continue to pummel Aleppo and other targets, U.S. officials said.

". You have to clean".

"There's no other option", he added.

Early morning raids in east Aleppo killed at least seven civilians, The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, and government forces captured high ground overlooking opposition areas on the northeastern outskirts of the city. "This is the importance of Aleppo now".

Churkin said Kerry and Lavrov decided "to revisit" the format they originally discussed three years ago of meeting with a small group of countries that have close ties with moderate opposition groups instead of some 20 countries in the International Syria Support Group, or ISSG, where it was hard to agree on specifics.

"Foreign Minister Zarif will attend the worldwide conference on the Syrian crisis in Lausanne", foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, according to the IRNA state news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday approved a law ratifying Moscow's deal with Syria to deploy its forces in the country indefinitely, in a move seen as firming their long-term presence.

Shelling and airstrikes this week have killed dozens of civilians in Aleppo, most in the east.

According to The Aleppo Media Centre, a group of opposition activists in the city, the overnight air strikes killed and wounded a number of people, with some buried under the debris.

The complex five-and-a-half-year long Syrian civil war is on the brink of becoming a "wider regional war", he said in an interview with state-run Anadolou News Agency on Wednesday.

In a gesture of apparent desperation, Staffan de Mistura has offered to escort members of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militant group out of Aleppo if that would entice the Syrian regime to forge a ceasefire with the remaining opposition groups.

The US has indicated that it is again considering some kind of military action against the Syrian government to gain leverage in peace talks and on Thursday, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom was also considering such action.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have soured further in the past week after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for a war crimes investigation after accusing Russian Federation of bombing hospitals in Aleppo.

Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, deputy special United Nations envoy for Syria, told reporters Thursday that the situation in eastern Aleppo was dire, with hundreds of people, including children, in urgent need of medical evacuation. The overriding goal of Tehran and Moscow appears to be to help the Assad government retake all of Aleppo just as the Obama administration prepares to leave office in order to put themselves in the strongest possible position at any future peace talks convened by the next US president.

It also might temper a sense of betrayal among moderate rebels who feel Obama encouraged their uprising by calling for Assad to go but then abandoned them, failing even to enforce his own "red line" against Syria's use of chemical weapons.

A leading Syrian opposition group slammed global talks on Saturday in Lausanne aimed at ending the five-year war, as warplanes pressed fierce raids on second city Aleppo.

"We are ready to ensure the safe withdrawal of armed rebels, the unimpeded passage of civilians to and from eastern Aleppo, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid there", Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoy said in a televised briefing.

"Russia and the (Syrian) regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women", Kerry said.

Lavrov said he wanted a smaller meeting in Lausanne to allow for "businesslike" discussions among countries with direct influence on the course of the conflict, rather than the much larger forum of the International Syria Support Group.

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