December 6, 2016 / 5:58 PM / in 3 years

No plans for U.S. and Russia talks on Syria this week: sources

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after the talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. and Russian officials will not hold talks on Syria in Geneva this week, despite an announcement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that they would, sources familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.

Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow would start talks with Washington on a rebel withdrawal from the Syrian city of Aleppo as Russian-backed Syrian forces fought to seize more territory from besieged rebels who are struggling to avoid a major defeat.

The sources, who declined to be identified, said they could not rule out a possibility that U.S. and Russian officials might meet elsewhere later in the week. “The talks will not take place here but what is not clear is who really canceled them,” a Western diplomat told Reuters.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; editing by Gareth Jones

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