The United states Secretary of State John Kerry launched a blistering attack on Russia for its actions in Syria, blaming Russia for the recent bombing of a UN aid convoy that killed 12 aid workers and destroyed 18 of 31 Syrian Red Crescent trucks carrying UN-provided food and has asked Russia to halt all flights in the region and also force Syria to halt all its airstrikes against terrorist groups.
“I believe that to restore credibility to the process we must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and to give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.
I listened to my colleague from Russia and I sort of felt like we're in a parallel universe here. Kerry said at the presence of his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at a United Nations meeting on Wednesday"Kerry said of their differing accounts of the conflict. He called for all planes in key areas of Syria to be immediately grounded and for countries to stop supporting those who sabotage ceasefire efforts.
According to Kerry, the US-supported opposition cannot engage in political talks to resolve the conflict in Syria, if the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, doesn't halt its air attacks on terrorists.
“And if that happens there's a chance of giving credibility back to this process,” he said of an agreement with Sergei Lavrov in Geneva earlier this month to mediate a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes. How can people go sit at a table with a regime that bombs hospitals and drops chlorine gas again and again and again and again and again and acts with impunity," Kerry asked.
''You're supposed to sit there and have happy talk in Geneva while the regime drops bombs?"
According to Kerry, Russia has denied being responsible for the attack on the UN aid convoy and warehouse and have instead given four different versions of events.
Kerry said Russia initially said that the strike was a necessary response to an alleged offensive by an al-Qaeda-linked terror group, then Russia claimed they were bombing elsewhere, then that the aid convoy had been followed by militants with mortars, and then that the trucks caught fire- 4 differing story lines.
"The trucks and the food and the medicine just spontaneously combusted," Kerry said. "Anybody here believe that?" he asked. The bombing attacks on hospitals and children are "flagrant violations of international law," he added.
''There are only two countries that have planes that are flying during the night or flying in that particular area at all," Kerry said. "They are Russia and Syria."
According to the White House, Russia will be held responsible for the aid convoy attacks, regardless of whether it or the Syrian government had launched the strikes, since they have responsibility over the airspace.