Lavrov: No Option to US-Russia Plans for Syria

People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes on the militant held Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 23.People inspect a damaged site after airstrikes on the militant held Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 23.

US and Russian plans to end Syria’s conflict must be saved as there is no alternative, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told the UN.

Lavrov was speaking as the northern city of Aleppo endured a day of relentless airstrikes, with the Syrian military determined to retake militant-held areas.

A seven-day US-Russian brokered truce collapsed on Monday. Lavrov laid the blame on the US for failing to control the militant groups it backs. He said a key condition of the truce was for moderate groups backed by the US to separate themselves from terrorists, BBC reported.

“Unfortunately the coalition led by the United States, which committed itself to make sure that this separation happens, has not been able to do this,” Lavrov said, although he said his “good friend” Secretary of State John Kerry had indicated this remained the commitment of the United States.

Lavrov said that if the location of militants of the Nusra Front could be pinpointed, he remained convinced a cessation of hostilities and a delivery of humanitarian aid would be possible.

He said it was “now essential to prevent a disruption” of the US-Russia agreements.

Lavrov also spoke of a “bleeding Middle East and North Africa”, the result of “arrogant attitudes and feelings of infallibility in pushing unilateral and reckless solutions”.

Kerry said he had met Lavrov earlier in the day and that there was “a little bit of progress” on resolving differences on Syria.

“We’re evaluating some mutual ideas in a constructive way, period,” Kerry said.

There appears to be little hope of any diplomatic progress and that, with the violence in Syria this week, jaw-jaw has absolutely lost out to war-war.

The head of a hospital in the militant-held east told Reuters that 91 people had been killed in Friday’s bombardment. In between the raids, White Helmet volunteers frantically searched for those trapped in the rubble of demolished buildings, often with bare hands.

Unicef said that nearly two million people were again without running water after an attack on a pumping station that served the militant-held east of the city and the retaliatory shutdown of a station serving the government-controlled west.

Activists said both Syrian and Russian warplanes were taking part in the offensive, though Russia has not confirmed its involvement.

Announcing the new offensive on state television late on Thursday, the Syrian government warned Aleppo residents to “stay away” from “terrorist positions”. Syrian military sources said a ground offensive would follow.