The Latest: Turkey: Ground troops in Syria 'not on agenda'

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The Latest on the civil war in Syria (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

The Turkish foreign minister says a land operation by Saudi Arabia and Turkey in Syria has never been on the agenda.

Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday dismissed speculation about such an operation as "disinformation and manipulation."

The minister said: "A land operation of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in Syria has never been on the agenda, and it is not on the agenda."

However, Turkey views ground operations as necessary and would be a willing partner if the notion got approval from a broader coalition, an official said last week. The country raised the issue in recent talks with the U.S. and other Western nations, said the Turkish official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

The U.S., Russia and other world powers agreed Feb. 12 in Munich to bring about a pause in hostilities that would allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the revival of peace talks.

— By Dominique Soguel


12:41 p.m.

A Syrian opposition activist group says heavy fighting has cut off the government's only supply route to the northeastern city of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says clashes were underway Monday along the southeastern approaches to the city, which is bitterly divided between the government and the rebels, and also around the town of Khanaser.

The Observatory tracks Syria's civil war. A news agency close to the Islamic State group said the extremist group's fighters had cut the road.

Aleppo, Syria's largest city and one-time commercial center, is divided between the government and its opponents, while IS holds a wide front to the east of the city.

Fighting has been fierce in Aleppo province in recent weeks amid a government offensive to cut off the rebel stronghold.