DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing hard on Russia to back an international conference intended to end the bloodshed in Syria and allow a transitional government to move the country beyond civil war.

Kerry met with officials from nearly a dozen countries on Saturday in Doha (DOH'-hah), Qatar (GUH'-tur), to discuss aid to the Syrian opposition and push forward on a political resolution to the crisis, which has claimed more than 93,000 lives.

Russia has been the key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime throughout the two-year conflict.

Kerry says top U.S. diplomats are ready to go to Geneva to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) and other officials in coming days to advance the political process.




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