A senior Russian official said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s threat to cease all talks with Russia over Syria, amounts to an “emotional breakdown.”
The official’s comments come after consistent U.S. pleas to resume a seven-day ceasefire in Syria, and to allow humanitarian aid into the rebel held areas of the city of Aleppo. Russia explicitly rejected the agreement, and has instead ramped up the bombardment of the city to an unprecedented level.
Kerry reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday the U.S. would “suspend U.S.-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria,” unless “Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo” and restore a ceasefire.
Kerry’s call comes after a U.S. brokered ceasefire with Russia utterly collapsed over the weekend. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad renewed his offensive on Aleppo and has reportedly assembled nearly 6000 fighters on the outskirts of the city for an assault. Russia is assisting the regime by now using bunker busting bombs on neighborhood streets.
The Russian official did say he would agree to a 48 hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid. Russia and its Syrian allies have reneged on almost every single major agreement with respect to humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. A central tenet of the U.S. brokered ceasefire was to allow humanitarian aid into the city, which the Syrian regime refused to do until the last day.
The convoy of food never made it to Aleppo because it was repeatedly bombed. The White House indicated it held Russia responsible for the strike, and UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon called the act a “war crime.” Russia denies any responsibility, and claims the convoy wasn’t hit by a strike at all, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Russia’s bunker busting bombs have spiked the civilian casualty rates to its highest level in five years. The United Nations believes nearly 100 children have been killed since the end of the ceasefire a week ago, with another 220 wounded. A UN Spokesman told reporters Aleppo children are “trapped in a living nightmare.”
The last remaining hospitals were also wiped out by Russian or Syrian bombs Wednesday. Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization told The New York Times Tuesday children were “dying on the floors of hospitals” for want of medical supplies.
After the bombing, there is no hospital floor for them to die on.
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