German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanual Macron held a phone conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on February 25 that saw the German and French leaders urge Moscow to exert "maximum pressure" on the Syrian dictator and erstwhile Russian ally Bashar al-Assad to "immediately begin implementation" of a newly-brokered UN ceasefire.

Merkel and Macron stressed to Putin that the ceasefire could be "a basis to advance efforts toward a political solution in the contex...

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