The conflict in Syria goes on, despite efforts to find a solution for it. The United States and Russia had negotiated a cease fire deal that barely held together. The deal was reached after much back and forth between Washington and Moscow and lasted very little.
The situation in Syria is indeed very difficult. There is ongoing fighting and the people are suffering. There are food shortages and the hospitals are barely operational, having run out of supplies. Observers have counted hundreds of deaths among civilians in the past week. Many of them were children.
Secretary of State John Kerry Calls Moscow
Secretary of State John Kerry has sent a strong message to Russia. Kerry warned that the United States would put an end to talks with Moscow regarding Syria, if Russia doesn’t change its approach. The United States had plans for joint-intelligence coordination with Russia but the Secretary is prepared to scrap those. He asked for Russian and Syrian forces to stop bombing the city of Aleppo in northern Syria.
John Kerry called Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, on Wednesday. He placed the telephone call personally in order to send the message out from the White House. Kerry and Lavrov have been spending a lot of time talking recently. They worked together on the cease fire deal. However, that fell apart after an attack on a humanitarian aid convoy on September 19. The response from the US side was quick and John Kerry had strong words for Russia at the United Nations. That is when the ceasefire fell apart, with the United States still holding on to the possibility of talks. This message from John Kerry is the sternest the White House has sent out since the cease fire fell through.
The Possibility of Ending Syria Talks
Ever since the cease fire ended, Aleppo has seen heavy bombing. Syrian forces, with support from their Russian allies, have hit the city with aerial attacks. The recent attacks are among the worst the city has seen since the beginning of the five-year conflict. During the past week, almost 400 civilians have lost their lives.
The spokesman for State Department, John Kirby gave a briefing. He said that the Secretary of State made it clear during the telephone call that “the United States and its partners hold Russia responsible for this situation”. Secretary Kerry also underlined that it is Russia’s responsibility to stop the assault. Russia has to allow for humanitarian aid to gain access to Aleppo and other areas that are in need.
John Kirby said that the State Department is making preparations to suspend bilateral talks with Russia if it is necessary. The United States is going to suspend Syria talks with Russia if Moscow doesn’t take “immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo.”
Evgeny Zagaynov is Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations. He responded by saying that it is “unfortunate” that Moscow is receiving the blame for the hostilities in the city of Aleppo. On Wednesday, Moscow said that they will send representatives to talk to United States diplomats about normalizing the situation in the city of Aleppo. The meeting is going to take place in Geneva.
Image source: here.