Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) looks at German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 13, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
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Russia said Saturday a ceasefire deal for Syria agreed by major powers was more likely to fail than succeed, as Syrian government forces backed by further Russian airstrikes gained more ground against rebels near Aleppo.Assad, backed on the ground by Iranian combatants and Lebanon's Hezbollah in addition to big power ally Russia, is showing no appetite for a negotiated ceasefire. He declared this week that the government's goal was to recapture all of Syria, though he said this could take time.ISIS, driven by the goal of expanding its "caliphate" rather than reforming Syria -- the original goal of the opposition when the conflict began as an unarmed street uprising in 2011 -- is being targeted in separate campaigns by a U.S.-led alliance and Assad's government with Russian air support.Speaking at the same conference, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Russia to stop bombing civilians in Syria, saying this was crucial to achieving peace there.
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