US asks Russia to halt Syria bombing

Russian airstrikes

In the backdrop of the Geneva peace talks failing, the US has asked Russia to immediately halt its bombing campaign in Syria. The breakdown in peace talks has exposed the deep rift between world powers aiming to end the five-year conflict.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces made a breakthrough. The troops entered two Shiite villages that had been under siege by rebels after also advancing around the second city Aleppo. Peace talks in Geneva were suspended on February 3 and is expected to resume on February 25, with UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura saying “more work” was needed.

The talks were aimed at ending Syria’s bloody conflict, which has killed more than 260,000 people. This has forced half the country’s people from their homes.

However, French French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused Damascus and Russia of creating a hurdle in Geneva with the offensive. Russia has been involved in air strikes in Syria since 2015. Russia says these are targeted at “terrorist organisations” mainly the Islamic State group. Mr Fabius said that, the world powers would hold “in-depth consultations” on their actions at the aid conference in London.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russia and asked it to halt its bombing of the Syrian opposition.

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