Heavy bombing in Aleppo blows holes in Syria peace efforts

The cease-fire this month was brokered by the US and Russia. But each side soon accused the other of violations. Photograph:( Getty )

AFP Washington, United States Sep 28, 2016, 03.48 PM (IST)

There will be no talks of peace in Syria if Russia continues to bomb Aleppo, United States said on Wednesday.

US secretary of state John Kerry told Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that plans to have a joint military cell to fight Islamic State have also been suspended, a US State Department official said.

"He (Kerry) informed the foreign minister (Lavrov) that the United States is making preparations to suspend US-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria... unless Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo and restore the cessation of hostilities," spokesman John Kirby said.

US's tough talk comes amid Russia-backed Syrian military's continued bombardment of eastern half of Aleppo, a territory held by rebels supported by the US. 

"Secretary Kerry expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria, particularly for continued‎ Russian and Syrian regime attacks on hospitals, the water supply network, and other civilian infrastructure in Aleppo," AFP quoted Kirby as saying.

US' comments come hours after two civilian hospitals and bakery came under heavy bombardment from Russia-backed warplanes in east Aleppo.  

On September 9, US and Russia had brokered a "cessation of hostilities" for a week but continued air strikes blew holes in the peace deal. US and Russia, long-time sparring partners, accused each other of breaching the ceasefire on separate occasions.

But both countries are scrambling to forge another ceasefire in the war-ravaged country. The civil war has left around 300,000 people dead since mid-2011. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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