US blames Russia as Syria talks suspended

The Obama administration is blaming Russian airstrikes for halting United Nations peace talks aimed at ending the five-year Syrian civil war.State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Moscow’s continued bombing of rebels and attacks on supply routes in Syria was partly responsible for the breakdown in negotiations.“They are hitting almost exclusively opposition targets, and we are continuing to see reports of civilian casualties as a result of these strikes,”  Kirby said.He added that the Russian strikes are “not anywhere near” focused on hitting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).Kirby’s comments came after U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura announced a three-week pause in the talks, which only started last Friday.With Russian support, the fledgling Syrian government led by Bashar al Assad has closed in on recapturing the entire city of Aleppo. The troubled Syrian city was the nation’s largest before war broke out in 2011.”I have indicated from the first day that I wont talk for the sake of talking,” Mistura told reporters in Geneva. “”I have concluded, frankly, that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done — not only by us but by the stakeholders.” The Wednesday announcement is a blow to international efforts to end the Syrian conflict that has already led to more than 250,000 dead.The talks struggled to get off the ground last week, and were delayed by disagreements over the makeup of groups that should be represented.


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