Kerry in Geneva to bolster Syria ceasefire
United States (U.S.) Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrived in Geneva on Sunday in an urgent bid to revive a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire that has all but fallen apart as Syrian government forces intensified their attacks, especially in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, over the last 10 days.
U.S. officials said Kerry’s top priority is to end the violence in Aleppo and return the whole of Syria to a durable cessation of hostilities that will enable the peace process to resume. To achieve that, the top U.S. diplomat has called for Russia’s help to persuade the Assad government to stop the attacks.
“These are critical hours. We look for Russia’s cooperation, and we obviously look for the regime to listen to Russia and to respond,” Kerry said as he went straight from the Geneva airport into a meeting with Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh.
“The hope is we can make some progress,” Kerry said at the start of the meeting.
The Syrian military on Friday said it would impose a temporary “regime of calm” in the areas around Damascus and in northwestern Syria’s Latakia province, but the order did not include Aleppo.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said attacks on Saturday continued to take a heavy toll on civilians in the city, where activists say nearly 250 people have been killed in the past 10 days.
On Sunday, the group said 859 civilians have been among the 3,116 people documented killed in the conflict during the month of April. It said 410 of those died in raids by Syrian and Russian warplanes and helicopter gunships.