Obama, Putin speak by phone about Syrian conflict

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President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Wednesday, the White House said. 
 
Press secretary Josh Earnest said the two leaders discussed ongoing efforts to bring an end to the civil war in Syria, abiding by the terms of a ceasefire in Ukraine and cutting off support for pro-Russia separatists there. 
 
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Earnest provided few other details about the call. 
 
Despite their deep differences over the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the U.S. has been pressuring Moscow to agree to a diplomatic agreement to usher him out of power. 
 
International talks over the situation in Syria have been complicated by saber-rattling between Iran and Saudi Arabia over Riyadh’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. 
 
Both nations have been participating in talks about the fate of Assad, a longtime ally of Iran. 
 
Obama and Putin last met in November on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Turkey.