Putin and Obama discuss Syria’s war over the phone

Russian media report the two presidents agreed on the need for a ceasefire and for aid to besieged civilians.

Putin Obama
US President Barack Obama chats with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Turkey in November 2015 [Kayhan Ozer/Reuters]

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama talked about Syria’s escalating civil war over the phone and agreed to intensify efforts to bring the fierce fighting to a halt, Russian media reported on Sunday. 

The Interfax news agency said that the call on Saturday was initiated by the U.S. and focused on how to unite U.S.-led and Russian military operations against armed groups fighting in the country, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

“The Russian president again emphasised the importance of creating a united anti-terrorist front while giving up double standards,” the report said.

“An agreement was reached to intensify co-operation between the diplomatic agencies and other structures for the purpose of implementing the statement by the International Syria Support group adopted in Munich,” it said.

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Last week at a security summit in Munich, Germany, world leaders agreed to implement a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria in the coming days. 

However, the announcement has been met with scepticism in some circles as Russia continues to bombard rebel positions around the key city of Aleppo as its ally, the Syrian army, captures more territory in the country’s north. 

The Kremlin press service reported that the phone discussion also included moves towards a ceasefire and ways to get humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians caught in the crossfire.

The nearly five-year-old civil war in Syria has killed more than 250,000 thousand people and driven millions of refugees into Europe.  

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies