Russian aid to Syria is hurting peace talks, Kerry says

Russian aid to Syria is hurting peace talks, Kerry says
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, arrives for a news conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Tatan Syuflana / Associated Press)

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Monday accused Russia of enabling the Syrian government's efforts to settle that country's civil war on the battlefield rather than in negotiations.

In an appearance in the Indonesian capital, Kerry complained that Moscow, along with Iran and the Hezbollah militant group, are providing the military support and aid that allow the Syrian regime to "double down" in the war.

"Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not contribute so much in weapons and aid that they allow [Syrian President Bashar] Assad to double down," Kerry said.

"It's very clear that [Assad] is trying to win this on the battlefield," he said.

Kerry was expressing his frustration at a time when the latest round of negotiations in Geneva have halted without progress. Their goal was to get the Syrian government and rebels to discuss formation of a new jointly agreed-upon government, but Syrian negotiators never engaged on the issue.

Kerry said the U.S. will "continue to look at options" for settling the war and easing its mounting humanitarian crisis. He seemed to rule out military options, saying the U.S. believes that there is no military solution to the war.

U.S. officials have also condemned Russia recently for blocking efforts at the United Nations to help provide humanitarian relief for Syrian war victims.

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