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EU drops sanctions threat against Russia over Syria

Smoke rises from reported opposition fire from buildings in an eastern government-held neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on October 20, 2016 as clashes erupted in an area designated as a humanitarian corridorEU leaders backed down on Friday from an explicit threat of sanctions against Russia over the bombing of Aleppo but warned that they would consider “all available options” if atrocities in Syria continue. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi demanded that any mention of possible punitive measures against Moscow over the Syrian carnage should be removed from a statement issued after a summit in Brussels. The climbdown underscored the deep divisions between the 28 European Union leaders as they tried to thrash out a long-term strategy on their increasingly bellicose eastern neighbour.

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