U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia and Syria should face a war crimes investigation for their attacks on Syrian civilians. (Oct. 7) AP
Kerry’s Sept. 9 agreement with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would have created a new counterterrorism alliance in Syria, had fighting stopped for a week and aid deliveries been permitted to reach desperate civilians in rebel-held parts of Aleppo and other besieged areas.
Neither condition was ever met.
The truce then broke completely when Syria and Russia renewed their military offensive in Aleppo. Kerry ended bilateral discussions with Russia on the military partnership earlier this week.
The war has killed as many as a half-million people since 2011, contributed to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II and allowed the Islamic State group to carve out territory for itself and emerge as a global terror threat.
As Kerry and Ayrault spoke at the State Department, Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified a new treaty with Syria that would allow Russia’s military to remain indefinitely in the Arab country. The vote was unanimous, a show of support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Russia launched its air campaign in Syria a year ago, reversing the tide of war and helping Assad’s forces make significant territorial gains.