The Russian foreign ministry says the use of force against Syria without a UN mandate would be a grave violation of international law. An attack on Syria would put severe strain on the West's relations with Russia.
Russian President Putin said the Syrian military's successes have created conditions for "the start of a political process on a major scale." Syria's Assad said progress would be made in the Astana peace talks.
In an exclusive interview with DW, Russian economist and politician Grigory Yavlinsky says Putin's policy of protecting the Syrian regime was not in Russia's interest. Yavlinsky sees no change in Kremlin's policies.
A first batch of "Islamic State" fighters has evacuated their stronghold in Damascus a day after an apparent deal with the Syrian regime. In recent years, jihadis have steadily lost ground to government forces.
During a visit to Moscow, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu had a "direct and forthright" talk on Syria with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Recently, Russia's ally Syria blamed Israel for launching air strikes on Damascus.
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