NEWS BRIEF Russia dismissed Thursday a U.S. warning that talks between the two nations over Syria would cease if the bombardment by Russian and Syrian forces on Aleppo persisted, and vowed to continue to support the Syrian government’s latest campaign to reclaim the rebel-held areas of the city.
The rejection marks a significant setback in relations between American and Russian leaders over the Syrian civil war; earlier this month, the two countries negotiated a week-long cease-fire between troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. The agreement collapsed following charges of violations by both sides.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, proposed Thursday a “48-hour pause” in fighting to allow humanitarian aid to reach the besieged city, but rejected a longer cease-fire on the grounds it would “ensure that terrorist groups can carry out activities to rearm, rest and regroup,” according to Interfax.
John Kerry, the American secretary of state, expressed doubt over whether a diplomatic solution could be reached in the foreseeable future.
“We’re on the verge of suspending the discussion,” Kerry said Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum, presented by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute. “It’s irrational in the context of the kind of bombing taking place to be sitting there and trying to take things seriously.”