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After the last somewhat disastrous cease-fire, hopes were not high that Russia and the US would be able to find a compromise again, especially with the constant name-calling and accusations of violating the agreement. And today, the US finally suspended talks after several weeks of unproductive bargaining. John Kerry had previously warned that the US would suspend talks if Russia did not stop the bombings in Aleppo.
After the cease-fire collapsed, Russia and Syria seemed to double down on their airstrikes, and Aleppo has come under heavy assault. Civilians, aid convoys, and multiple hospitals have been hit since a few weeks ago. And one specific hospital was hit by airstrikes for a third time in just a week in Aleppo, hurting numerous civilians and damaging the availability of health-care in the city.
In a press statement, US Department of State spokesman and retired Admiral John Kirby had this to say:
“Russia failed to live up to its own commitments – including its obligations under international humanitarian law.”
“[Russia] was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed. Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need, including through the September 19 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy.”
It is somewhat sad to see an honest attempt to end the violence, at least temporarily, fail, but this was easily predictable. The US and Russia have been on bad terms since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russia has too much interest in seeing Bashar Al-Assad come to power again to agree to anything that would help civilians as well as the rebels.
But a lot of East Aleppo is starving under siege, so hopefully those civilians will be able to find some other means of getting food than a cease-fire, because we all saw how well it went when Russia/Syria mercilessly bombed a UN-backed aide caravan delivering food to civilians.