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Iran aligns with Russia in push for Syria deal

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to members of the UN Security Council Credit: Reuters

Iran has decided to unify its position on Syria with that of Russia in the push for a political deal to end Syria's civil war, according to Iranian officials.

That suggests Iran could ease its opposition to the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of any agreement.

Both Russia and Iran have insisted Assad should only step down if he is voted out in an eventual election, but while maintaining its backing for Assad in public, Russia has recently made clear to Western nations that it has no objection to Assad stepping down as part of a peace process, diplomats said.

Reuters quoted one senior Iranian official as saying: "What was agreed was Iran and Russia will pursue one policy which will benefit Tehran, Moscow and Damascus."

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UN Security Council adopts resolution endorsing Syria peace roadmap

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to the draft resolution Credit: RTV

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a draft resolution endorsing a Syria peace roadmap.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who chaired the vote stated that in approving the resolution the council was "sending a clear message" that "the time is now to stop the killing in Syria and lay the groundwork for government that the long suffering people of that battered land can support".

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon added that as the UN "now stands ready to relaunch intra-Syrian talks" he had already urged pressure be put on Syrian parties to immediately implement the following measures ahead of a resolution being reached:

  • stop the use of indiscriminate weapons against civilians including barrow bombs
  • allow unconditional and unimpeded access for aid convoys
  • halt attacks on medical and educational facilities and lift restrictions on any medical and surgical supplies from humanitarian convoys
  • release all detainees
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Credit: RTV

UN Security Council members agree draft resolution for Syria peace process

The draft resolution text was agreed by the UN Security Council's five veto powers Credit: Andrew Kelly/ Reuters

Five members of the UN Security Council have agreed the text of a draft resolution that endorses an international roadmap for a Syria peace process to be put in place by early January.

According to Reuters each of the remaining ten members of the council will be phoned and briefed about the details of the draft text.

The draft text reportedly endorses a previously agreed timeline for creating a transitional Syrian government and demands "all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects".

Refugees 'refused entry to Macedonia due to nationality'

An estimated 1,000 refugees and migrants are stuck on the Greek border with Macedonia after some were refused entry because of their nationality, the United Nations said.

"A new humanitarian situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention," Adrian Edwards of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing.

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia. Credit: Reuters

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Cameron: Putin should realise Assad needs removing

David Cameron is in the United States and has appeared on CBS television saying that President Putin needs to realise that there will not be stability in Syria unless Bashar al-Assad is removed from power.

The prime minister said the only way to have a Syria free of Islamic State is to have a country free of President Assad.

Russia does not rule out joining air strikes against IS

Putin said he had not ruled out air strikes but would not send in Russian ground troops to Syria. Credit: Reuters

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin discussed the possibility of Russian involvement in the military campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS) during their meeting on Monday.

Both sides agreed to direct their militaries to hold talks to avoid conflict over potential operations in Syria, according to a US official.

The Agence France-Presse news agency quoted Putin as saying that Russia had not ruled out taking part in air strikes with the US-led coalition against IS, but would not be sending in ground troops.

We are thinking about it. We don't rule anything out. But if we are to act it will only be fully respecting international legal norms.

– President Vladimir Putin

President Obama emphasised that the United States would work with Russia and Iran to find a solution to the bloodshed in Syria, although he differed with President Putin over working with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Qatar: Assad is root cause of Syria crisis

Qatar's foreign minister has said he believes the first priority in Syria should be to fight President Bashar al-Assad.

Referring to the disagreement between Russia and the US over the fate of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Khaled al-Attiyah said: "Nobody can reject Mr [Vladimir] Putin's call for an alliance against terrorism, but ... we need to treat the cause.

"We believe strongly that the Syrian regime, namely Bashar al-Assad, is the real cause."

Differences remain between Obama and Putin on Syria

The two leaders met on the sideline of the UN sumit Credit: PA

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have agreed to explore a political solution to Syria's conflict, but continue to disagree on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a US official.

During the two leaders' 90-minute meeting on the sidelines of the UN summit, Mr Obama told Mr Putin that he saw no path to stability in Syria if Assad remains in power, according to the official.

The two leaders spent about half their meeting discussing Syria, and half discussing Ukraine, Mr Obama said.

Mr Putin said the meeting was "very useful and frank".

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