A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 14, 2018 shows government forces head towards jihadist positions in the Hajar al-Aswad district on the southern outskirts of Damascus. AFP / SANA / Handout
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Syrian civil society groups Monday urged Russia, which is hosting the football World Cup in a month, to ensure a nationwide cease-fire ahead of the competition.At the height of the deadly regime assault on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta in March this year, Syrian charities and rights groups had called on Western leaders to threaten a World Cup boycott.There were few signs, however, that Western powers were willing to risk their presence at the World Cup to lean on Moscow, which has in recent years become the key player in the Syrian conflict.
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