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Putin promises Syria medical aid

Nov. 16, 2013 at 8:48 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Russia is responding to a request by Syrian President Bashar Assad for medical aid, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Saturday.

Dmitry Peskov said Assad and Putin discussed the Syrian crisis in a telephone conversation Thursday, RIA Novosti reported. Assad described a "difficult health situation," Peskov said.

Russia plans to send first-aid kits, pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies, Peskov said.

More than 100,000 people are believed to have died in a civil war that began in 2011 with large protests against Assad's regime, and millions of people have been driven from their homes, many of them now refugees in neighboring countries. Russia has generally supported Assad, while the United States and western European countries are more sympathetic to the rebels.

Putin and Assad also discussed possible peace negotiations and Syria's effort to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpile, Peskov said.

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