The top diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the EU are meeting in Paris to sketch out a possible new diplomatic push to end fighting in Syria.

The gathering Thursday evening comes amid new jockeying by Russia and increased military action by France and Britain in the region. European officials are warning with new urgency that the refugee crisis has no hope of ending without a political solution in Syria.

On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she favored including Syrian President Bashar Assad at the negotiating table in the future. "I think one has to speak with many actors. That includes Assad," she said.