World Media

Fighting displaces 100000 in central Syria in 8 days


The United States and Russia have not reached a ceasefire deal for Syria, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday, saying it could not confirm Moscow's announcement that the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers would meet in Geneva on Thursday.

French official sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that they were not surprised by the failure of the United States and Russian Federation to agree on a ceasefire.

Earlier in the day, U.S. President Barack Obama said in Hangzhou that talks with Russian Federation will be key in reaching any deal to end hostilities in Syria but negotiations are hard.

The two powers support opposite sides in the conflict, with Moscow using its military to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Washington taking the position that Assad must go and supporting some opposition groups seeking to oust him.

Obama, speaking Sunday at the G20 summit in China, said he does not think any new deal would last long enough for a political resolution in Syria.

"We have not been able to reach a clear understanding on a way forward", Toner said, adding: "I can't say there is a big hope for success, we're just continuing to work at it".

Kerry and Lavrov met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the eastern city of Hangzhou. Those plans deflated throughout the day, as both the briefing and the press conference were canceled.

Kerry said the two sides had worked through many technical issues but said the USA didn't want to enter into an illegitimate agreement.

The talks faltered Sunday when Russian Federation pulled back from agreement on issues the US negotiators believed had been settled, the State Department official said. Ultraconservative Islamic insurgents last week advanced in Hama, prompting fierce clashes with government forces.

The US hopes to align with Russian Federation to identify terrorist targets, including ISIS and the Nusra Front, a group formerly tied to al-Qaeda.

The conflict has killed as many as a half-million people since 2011 and caused millions of Syria to flee from their homes, contributing to a global migration crisis. A partial "cessation of hostilities" in Syria brokered by the USA and Russian Federation in February quickly broke down, and broader talks in Geneva over a political solution to the crisis have stalemated.

Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, the primary rival of Iran, said Tuesday in London a cease-fire accord was possible within 24 hours, but cautioned that Assad is unlikely to abide by any agreement.

Speaking in Oxford, England, on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter accused Moscow of aggressive behavior aimed at eroding the worldwide order.

The U.S. -Russia proposal being discussed would make way for a political transition but does not elaborate on Assad's future.

A key focus is an attempt by American and Russian negotiators, who have been meeting on and off for weeks, to resolve what are described as technical sticking points. Kerry said the US wanted a deal with the best chance for survival. Lavrov's deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, said a deal was "close" but said Washington had to dissociate itself from Nusra.

"Many of the groups considered acceptable by the USA have actually affiliated with the Nusra Front, while the Nusra Front is using them to avoid being attacked", Ryabkov told Russian media, citing a longstanding complaint of his government.