Syrians walk through the destruction in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Iran is looking to Syria peace talks next week as a chance to build on its regional clout, experts say, as Tehran, Moscow and Ankara all stake out claims for influence.Iran is worried that Russia appears to be shifting its allegiance toward Turkey: working with Turkish forces against Daesh and excluding Iran from initial cease-fire talks in northern Syria.Ali Vaez, of the International Crisis Group, said Iran and Russia were only ever "tactical partners, not strategic allies". Others disagree, saying Russia has no choice but to stick by Iran.Just getting to the negotiating table has been a major turnaround for Iran, which was frozen out of previous U.N.-sponsored peace talks on Syria.Tehran provides few details of its involvement, but in November revealed that more than 1,000 of its volunteer fighters – many recruited from Shiite communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and overseen by the external operations arm of the Revolutionary Guard – had been killed in Syria.
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