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Russia Discussing Loan To Damascus

The Syrian deputy prime minister says Russia and Syria are discussing the possibility of Moscow giving a loan to Damascus.

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said the issue was discussed at talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on July 22.

He said the Syrian government hoped for an agreement by the end of the year.

Jamil also said that all agreements for Russia's controversial contract to deliver S-300 missile systems to Damascus were still in place.

Lavrov said at the meeting that the goal of a proposed international peace conference should be to expel all "terrorists and extremists" from Syria.

Russia is an ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime but has also recently sought to jointly organize with the United States a Syrian peace conference.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and Reuters