Kerry travels to Switzerland for urgent talks on Syrian conflict

Kerry-travels-to-Switzerland-for-urgent-talks-on-Syrian-conflict.    GENEVA, Switzerland,  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Geneva for urgent talks on the ongoing Syrian conflict.

Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Geneva for urgent talks on the Syrian conflict. Photo by U.S. Department of State | License Photo
















Kerry is expected to discuss with his Saudi and Jordanian counterparts “ongoing efforts to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities” and aid delivery to besieged communities, Sky News reported.

The talks were announced Sunday, a day after Washington said it was in discussions with Russia about how to salvage a two-month truce between the Syrian government and opposition.

A minimum of 246 civilians have died in bombing raids, shelling and rocket fire in Aleppo, Syria since April 22, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Nearly 30 airstrikes hit the rebel-held areas around Aleppo Saturday as a temporary “regime of calm” declared by President Bashar al Assad’s military took effect around the capital Damascus and northwest Syria.

Kerry will meet with the foreign ministers of Jordan and Saudi Arabia and UN envoyStaffan de Mistura, the State Department said in a statement.

“In all of his discussions, the secretary will review ongoing efforts to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities nationwide in Syria, obtain the full humanitarian access to which the Syrian government committed, and support a political transition” called for in a U.N. Security Council resolution, the State Department said.

Another round of U.N.-backed Syria peace talks is set to begin May 10 in Geneva after the last round ended last week with no progress.

“The secretary made clear that ending the violence in Aleppo and returning ultimately to a durable, nationwide cessation is a top priority,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said before the top U.S. diplomat departed Washington.

Voice of America reported, Russian General Sergei Kuralenko told Russian news agencies talks are now under way to halt Syrian bombing of the rebel stronghold in Aleppo.

The truce, which went into force on Feb. 27, has done little to ease the threat against the city, NDTV reported..

Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, Aleppo has become the scene of some of the worst fighting in a conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people over the past five years.

By UPI Staff