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Kerry Asks Russia For Help In Syria Cease-Fire

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has asked Russia’s foreign minister for help in getting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop violating the cease-fire there.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on April 15 that Kerry told Sergei Lavrov in a telephone conversation that there was an "urgent need" to get Assad to comply with the cease-fire.

Kirby told reporters that some of the Syrian government actions in and around the city of Aleppo are being backed by Russian air strikes.

He said Kerry told Lavrov "the United States expected Russia to urge the regime to comply with the cessation and that we would work with the opposition to do the same."

Kerry also expressed concern about reports that Qassim Soleimani, the commander of the covert wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, is visiting Moscow.

Soleimani leads the Quds Force, which trains and supports Shi'ite militias in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

He is subject to a travel ban under United Nations sanctions targeting Iran's guerrilla campaigns.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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