Smoke rises from airstrikes on Guzhe village, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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Senior U.S. and Russian officials held talks on Wednesday aimed at agreeing on how to separate al Qaeda-linked militants from rebel fighters in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo so as to pave the way for a ceasefire.The talks follow a meeting between the United States and its allies on Tuesday that aimed to coordinate efforts toward a new ceasefire, after Russia unexpectedly announced it had halted air strikes on Aleppo.Russia favors a U.N. proposal to evacuate jihadist fighters belonging to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group from the besieged zone of eastern Aleppo in return for a ceasefire.The U.N. says there are up to 900 Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters out of 8,000 rebels in eastern Aleppo in total, but diplomatic sources have told Reuters there are far fewer, probably a maximum of 200 .
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