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May 2, 6:24 AM EDT

Damascus extends cease-fire by 48 hours


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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria's state news agency says the military has extended its cease-fire around Damascus and opposition strongholds in the eastern suburbs for another 48 hours.

The Monday report said that President Bashar Assad's army would extend the cessation of hostilities that was declared Friday around the capital and the coastal Latakia region, following two weeks of escalating violence around the country.

The truce excludes Aleppo, Syria's largest city and a major battleground between rebels and pro-government forces.

Russia's Tass news agency quoted Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, head of the Russian coordination center in Syria, as saying that talks are continuing about a cease-fire for Aleppo. He says the Damascus area cease-fire was brokered by the Russia and the U.S., "in agreement with the Syrian leadership and the moderate opposition."

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