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Russia, US could be headed for collision in Syria

Neither Russia nor the United States seems interested in escalating tension with each other in Syria, but the situation might push them in that direction.
Damaged cars and buildings are seen in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh - RC1683B91A30

MOSCOW — After the UN Security Council’s demand Feb. 24 for a cease-fire across Syria proved ineffective, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 26 called for a five-hour-daily humanitarian pause in fighting in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta beginning Feb. 27.

Putin’s call came after humanitarian monitors said they suspected forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched a chlorine attack on the battered city near Damascus. Russia, however, claimed terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham had been plotting to use chemical weapons themselves and blaming Assad supporters, according to Russia's state-run Tass news agency.

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