MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is encouraged by the peace process seeking to put an end to the war in Syria.
Russia along with Turkey and Iran sponsored talks in the Kazakh capital Astana bringing together the Syrian government and the opposition and focused on reducing violence. The next round of the talks is set for later this month.
Speaking at a security summit in Kazakhstan on Friday, Putin hailed the talks as providing "a genuine chance to strengthen the cease-fire and give impetus" to U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva.
Russia has conducted an air campaign in Syria since September 2015, helping turn the tide in the conflict in favor of President Bashar Assad's forces.