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Medvedev Warns Of 'World War' If Syrian Peace Talks Fail, U.S., Arab Troops Enter

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned of the possibility of a permanent or "world war" if a resolution of the Syrian conflict is not found and U.S. and Arab ground forces get involved in the conflict.

Medvedev, in an interview in Munich with Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper on February 11, said Washington and Moscow must use their influence to pressure all sides in the conflict to agree to a cease-fire.

He said if Saudi forces joined a recently discussed U.S.-led ground operation into Syria it could turn "the war into a permanent one," citing Afghanistan and "many other countries" as examples.

Medvedev said the United States and Arab countries must think carefully before getting more deeply involved in Syria and that "all sides must be compelled to sit at the negotiating table instead of unleashing a new world war."

Russia, which began a bombing campaign in Syria in September, is carrying out bombing sorties around the key city of Aleppo in support of advances by the government troops of President Bashar al-Assad, a close Russian ally.

A U.S.-led coalition of dozens of countries is also conducting air strikes in Syria.

French President Francois Hollande on February 11 called on Russia to end its military action in support of Assad.

"I ask that the Russian actions stop," Hollande said. "We need to ensure that [Assad] leaves power and at the moment, helped by the Russians, he is massacring some of his own people."

Russian, U.S., and officials from several other countries held talks in Munich on February 11 in an effort to agree on conditions for a cease-fire.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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