Kerry-Aleppo-violence-deeply-disturbing-re-establishing-cease-fire-in-works. GENEVA, Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said the Syrian government and a consolidated group of rebels are closer to reaching an agreement to end hostilities amid violence in Aleppo.
Although a shaky cease-fire was established in February, hostilities in Aleppo have threatened to terminate the truce. About 250 people have died in Aleppo in the past nine days due to the flare-up of violence.
The Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad has been blamed for launching airstrikes and artillery attacks in rebel-held areas of Aleppo. Government bombings on Monday killed at least three people.
Kerry held a meeting with United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, where talks between warring factions are ongoing. Kerry said the conflict in Syria is “deeply disturbing.”
“It is a fact that in the last weeks, the cessation of hostilities has been put to test, and it has frayed in certain areas and it has fallen completely in a few areas,” Kerry told reporters. “Aleppo is particularly disturbing to everyone for what has happened there … There are only two air forces flying in that particular area, and the Russians are clear that they were not engaged or flying at that time. The regime has clearly indicated the willingness, over a period of time now, to attack first responders, to attack healthcare workers and rescue workers … It has to stop.”
Kerry said both sides of the conflict have “contributed to this chaos,” adding that the United States and Russia, who helped mediate the cease-fire, have ordered additional personnel in Geneva to facilitate in peace talks efforts.
“We are working over these next hours intensely in order to try to restore the cessation of hostilities, and at the same time to raise the level of accountability that will accompany the day-to-day process of implementing the cease-fire,” Kerry said, adding that he hopes that cessation of hostilities is renewed “over the course of the next day.”