US urges Russia to implement ceasefire in Syria

Syrian peace process

With the Syrian peace process on hold, the war of words between the US and Russia has escalated. Urging Russia to implement the ceasefire in Syria, US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked Russia to stop its bombing campaign that is allegedly killing women and children in large numbers.

“Russia has indicated to me very directly they are prepared to do a ceasefire,” Mr Kerry said.  Mr Kerry has been seeking to resolve the five-year Syrian conflict, in the final year of his tenure in the Obama administration.

 “The Iranians confirmed in London just a day and a half ago they will support a ceasefire now,” Mr Kerry said. Iran is one of the key members involved in the Syrian peace process and with the sanctions being eased on Iran, it is now expected to play a much bigger role in the peace process.

“We will have a much better sense in the next few days of how serious each party is,” added Mr Kerry. He had blamed Russia’s bombing campaign against the Syrian opposition for the collapse of peace talks in Geneva this week.

Moscow, Damascus’s key ally, has stepped up bombing around the Syrian city of Aleppo in recent days. This has led the Syrian government to launch an offensive, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee to the Turkish border. Russia is favourably disposed towards the Syrian administration.

Accusing the Russian military of using “dumb bombs”, Mr Kerry said: “They are not precision bombs, and there are civilians, including women and children, being killed in large numbers as a consequence.”

Russian planes have also been accused by the US of targeting hospitals and bombing civilians.

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