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U.S., Russia Make Fresh Bid To End Syria Bloodshed

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has started a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to discuss a political agreement that could help bring an end to the conflict in Syria.

Ahead of the September 9 talks, the State Department said the discussions would focus on "reducing violence, expanding humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people, and moving toward a political solution needed to end the civil war."

Washington and Moscow are backing different sides in Syria's five-year-old civil war that has killed up to 400,000 people. The Kremlin supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the United States is backing rebel groups seeking his ouster.

Kerry and Lavrov in recent weeks have been in talks over a deal to boost U.S. and Russian military cooperation to fight the Islamic State group and other extremists in Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP