Obama Urges Putin to Halt Airstrikes Against Syrian Opposition

U.S President Barack Obama has discussed the Syria crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasizing the importance of Moscow playing “a constructive role by ceasing its air campaign against moderate opposition forces in Syria.”

The two leaders spoke by phone Saturday to “discuss the decisions and agreements made at the February 11 meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and to stress the importance of rapidly implementing humanitarian access to besieged areas of Syria,” a White House statement said Sunday.

At the ISSG meeting in Munich last week, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a plan for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria within a week, with a formal cease-fire to follow at a later date.

Russia began carrying out airstrikes in Syria in late September, with the stated goal of diminishing Islamic State forces. But Western governments say the majority of the airstrikes are targeting moderate groups opposed to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.

Moscow has rejected the criticism.

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