An elderly man is carried during an evacuation operation of rebel fighters and their families from Aleppo neighborhoods.
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President Vladimir Putin said he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are working to organize a new series of Syrian peace talks without the involvement of the United States or the United Nations.Putin, who has leveraged Russia's role in Syria to boost his diplomatic muscle, said the talks proposal was being put to the Syrian government and the opposition.It also shows how fed up Russia is with what it sees as long and pointless talks with the Obama administration over Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this week dismissed those talks as "fruitless sitting around" and said Ankara might prove a more effective partner on Syria. Turkey, which wants to boost its global sway too, is also deeply frustrated by U.S. policy in Syria, particularly Washington's support for Kurdish militia fighters it sees as a hostile force, and by what it views as President Barack Obama's failure to give enough support to the rebels. Russia is one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's closest allies, while Turkey, a NATO member, wants him removed.
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