German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the launch of the election campaign of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party for state elections in Magdeburg, eastern Germany, on February 13, 2016. / AFP / Ronny Hartmann
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Russia had gained the upper hand in Syria and the surrounding region through armed force, a senior conservative ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday, and he voiced doubts that Moscow would respect a truce plan for the war-torn country.Speaking at a security conference in Munich, he said he was skeptical about how Russia would behave in the days and weeks ahead, despite agreeing to a "cessation of hostilities" which is due to begin in a week's time.A day after the agreement was clinched, Syrian troops, backed by Russian airstrikes, made gains against rebels near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
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