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US on 'verge of suspending' Syria talks with Russia

Kerry had called his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to warn that he would end talks unless Moscow halts the assault on Aleppo. In photo: US secretary of state John Kerry speaks during a UN Security Council Meeting September 21, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Washington, United States Sep 29, 2016, 10.26 PM (IST)


The United States said on Thursday that it is on the verge of ending talks with Russia over the airstrikes on Aleppo.

US secretary of state John Kerry admitted that months of diplomacy to end the war had hit a dead-end.

"I think we are on the verge of suspending the discussion because, you know, it's irrational in the context of the kind of bombing taking place, to be sitting there, trying to take things seriously," he told a conference in the US capital, according to the international news agency, AFP. 

Air strikes pounded Aleppo province on Thursday and killed at least 11 civilians, including seven children, died during attacks on the city of Idlib, nearby Jarjanaz and central Hama province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was quoted as saying by AFP. 

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have  condemned what they called "barbarous" Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes on Aleppo during a phone call later on Thursday but Russia said it would press ahead with airstrikes in support of the regime.

According to the UN, Aleppo is witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis since the war started in 2011.
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Russia has also warned  that Washington's refusal to work with Moscow on a settlement would be a "gift to terrorists."

"If Washington's threats to halt cooperation become concrete decisions, then there is no longer any doubt that the rebels are under the White House's protection and in the streets,terrorists will celebrate," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova told AFP.

Russia and the United States have been blaming each other for last week's collapse of a ceasefire deal that would have marked the first step to initiate an to end the five-year war that has killed 300,000 people.

According to the UN, Aleppo is witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis since the war started in 2011.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council in New York that Aleppo is descending into a "merciless abyss of a humanitarian catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed so far in Syria.", AFP reported.

More than 100,000 children are trapped in east Aleppo, which is under intense bombing since the Syrian army offensive began, he said.

The siege by Syrian government forces has made food scarce and fresh water in short supply, he added.


(WION with inputs from AFP)


 

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