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Putin calls for Syria peace talks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Japan-Russia business dialogue meeting at Keidanren Kaikan on Friday in Tokyo, Japan. Putin is on a two-day official visit to Japan. (Photo by Ma Ping - Pool/Getty Images)

JAPAN – Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed peace talks on Syria, as evacuations continued of civilians desperate to leave the bombarded city of Aleppo.

“Syrian forces have achieved success in allowing the Syrian people to lead their ordinary life and return to homes … the next step is an agreement about stopping all the fighting, all the shooting,” Putin said Friday, during a joint press conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Since Thursday, up to 9,000 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo, according to Russian state media quoting Russia’s Defense Ministry and Russia’s Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, as well as reporting from Syria state television.

Activists including the Aleppo Media Center confirmed that a sixth evacuation convoy was departing eastern Aleppo imminently earlier Friday. The evacuations were made possible by a second ceasefire agreement, after the first one collapsed within hours on

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