“There is nothing more for the United States and Russia to talk about,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said today of negotiations to end the 5-year Syrian civil war. He called it a “tragic” development that will lead to more loss of life, according to ABC report.
The announcement comes two weeks after the most recent attempt at a cease-fire fell apart in dramatic fashion when a humanitarian aid convoy trying to reach besieged areas of rebel-heldAleppo was destroyed by an airstrike.
The U.S. blamed Russia for that attack, and the Russians later suggested it could have been carried out by a U.S. drone, a claim the U.S. military strongly denied. The attack on the aid convoy was followed by a resurgence of airstrikes on Aleppo by Russia and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, resulting in some of the deadliest days of the war.
“The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia” that were established to sustain the cease-fire brokered by the U.S., the State Department announced in a statement to the press.
“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.”
Russia’s foreign ministry responded to the U.S. announcement by saying it “regretted” the American decision, but again blamed the U.S. for the cease-fire’s collapse, in particular claiming it had failed to help establish it around Aleppo.
“Now, clearly, having not been able to fulfill these agreements, which they worked up themselves, they are attempting to push responsibility onto someone else,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the ministry said, according to the Interfax news agency.