A fighter from Free Syrian Army (Al-Hamza Brigade) is seen looking out in Hazwan town in Aleppo, Syria September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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At the entrance to the United Nations building in New York a sign advertises an upcoming party to celebrate the end of the annual gathering of world leaders.The contrast is striking a year after nations jousted verbally for a week in the same halls attempting to strike a cease-fire deal as Russia and Iran backed Syrian government troops in a brutal advance on the then rebel bastion of Aleppo.On the ground, violence between government forces and rebels has been drastically reduced after the creation of "de-escalation zones" in the west of the country negotiated between Russia, Turkey and Iran in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. A separate effort between Russia, Jordan and the United States has also helped in the south.The last major international attempt to resolve the crisis ended in failure when the International Syria Support Group was cast aside after Syrian government forces retook Aleppo in 2016 .How Russia and Iran see the political evolution remains unclear given their interests and influence in Syria have never been greater.Speaking at the high-level Syria meeting, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov pushed for a new round of Geneva talks.
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