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MOSCOW — The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said Monday that the government of President Bashar Assad of Syria was ready to engage in peace negotiations without preconditions. He urged the United States and other Western nations to bring Syrian opposition groups to the table for a new round of talks.

Lavrov, who met here Monday with the Syrian deputy prime minister, Qadri Jamil, blamed opposition groups for the lack of progress in peace efforts. He and Jamil said they had discussed the possibility of additional economic aid for Syria, in the form of a loan from Russia, with terms to be finalized later this year.


In Syria on Monday, rebels seized a strategic village on the edge of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said, just a day after opposition fighters sustained some of their heaviest losses in months in battles to the south near Damascus.

Government troops killed at least 75 rebels in and around the Syrian capital on Sunday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was one of the deadliest single-day tolls for opposition fighters recently. But the capture of the village of Khan al-Assal was a bright spot for rebels.

After more than two years of civil war, the Syrian economy is in tatters and the Assad government is heavily reliant on foreign aid, particularly from Russia and Iran. Russia is also an important supplier of arms and humanitarian aid to the Syrian government.

New York Times