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    Members of Syrian pro-government forces drive their pick-up in the village of Minyan, west of Aleppo, after they retook the area from rebel fighters on November 12, 2016

    Kerry Pressing for Aleppo Deal With Russia 'Before Trump's Inauguration'

    © AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN
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    US Secretary of State John Kerry is putting efforts to strike a deal with Russia on resolving the situation in Syria's Aleppo before President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated in January, media reported, citing officials.

    Russian aide to the President Yury Ushakov described Kerry's efforts as "very active" and even "inconceivable" since "there have never been so many telephone contacts where only one topic was discussed – Syria."

    America's top diplomat is apparently trying to bring more stakeholders to the table, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran, while focusing solely on Aleppo, a city which was Syria's commercial capital prior to the war, the Washington Post asserted.

    Under the proposed deal, the United States will pledge to convince so-called "moderate" opposition to cut ties with al-Nusra Front, a terrorist group created as al-Qaeda's offshoot in Syria. This is something that Washington promised to deliver when Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reached an agreement in September. US-backed armed rebels refused to comply, rendering the fragile nationwide ceasefire unsustainable.

    In exchange, the US apparently wants Syria and its allies to lift the siege of eastern Aleppo, the rebel-held area of the city, and allow humanitarian aid in. Washington appears to remain oblivious to the fact that Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly opened humanitarian corridors into eastern Aleppo. These initiatives have been complicated by radical groups active in the area.

    The newspaper described Kerry's efforts as a "quiet mission."

    Syrian pro-government fighters fire a Russian 122mm howitzer gun as they advance in the recently recaptured village of Joubah during an offensive towards the area of Al-Bab in Aleppo province, on November 25, 2016
    © AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN
    Syrian pro-government fighters fire a Russian 122mm howitzer gun as they advance in the recently recaptured village of Joubah during an offensive towards the area of Al-Bab in Aleppo province, on November 25, 2016

    Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the President of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, said Kerry was the reason why Aleppo has not been liberated yet.

    "I think that the interference of US Secretary of State John Kerry has halted the liberation of the Syrian city," he said. "When the plan of the multidimensional operation was laid out, he called with a request to postpone it."

    Earlier in November, Lavrov mentioned that both countries are still trying to reach an agreement on Syria. He added that experts from the Middle Eastern countries which are involved in the Syrian conflict are also taking part in these efforts.

    Russia's top diplomat also pointed to the largest stumbling block on the path to a new deal.

    Syria. Terrorist-controlled eastern Aleppo districts as seen from the city's Citadel.
    © Sputnik/ Mikhael Alaeddin
    Syria. Terrorist-controlled eastern Aleppo districts as seen from the city's Citadel.

    "These contacts have produced certain results, but they are also hindered by the same problem which prevented the Americans from keeping their promise to separate the so-called moderate opposition from [al-Nusra Front]. There is growing evidence and firm impression that they want to preserve al-Nusra as the most effective force in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad," he said.

    Lavrov and Kerry discussed "ways of resolving the conflict in Syria," including Aleppo, during a telephone conversation on November 22.

    The Obama administration has placed principal blame for what is happening in Syria on Assad, claiming that his removal is the necessary step to resolve the five-and-a-half-year-long war. Critics have pointed out that overthrowing Assad will only empower foreign-sponsored terrorist groups which have largely absorbed less radical fighters.

    It is unlikely that Moscow and Washington will reach an agreement while the Obama administration remains in office. For his part, US President-elect Donald Trump has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with Moscow. At the same time, he also voiced his concerns over Washington's strategy of supporting rebel groups in Syria. 

    "Moscow is indeed hopeful that the new administration in the White House will prioritize the fight against terrorism and extremism and that joint dealings on Syria may culminate in a real cooperation. The spectrum of possible US-Russia interactions discussed in the Russian expert community varies from intelligence sharing between the respective agencies to coordinated joint military airstrikes to even a joint offensive on Raqqa sometime next year," Maxim A. Suchkov, an expert of the Russian International Affairs Council, wrote for al-Monitor.

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    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, jihadist rebels, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, deal, Syrian conflict, diplomacy, Daesh, Al-Nusra Front, John Kerry, Donald Trump, Sergei Lavrov, Syria, United States, Russia, Aleppo
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    • sapper
      The best answer to the problem is to remove the US government and all it's think tanks and relocate them to Aleppo, just for the experience.
    • Mikhas
      Look who´s talking!. No way Jose. There are only a comparatively few US-Turk supported rats & cutthroats left in Aleppo and their day´s are indeed numbered and 772 male monster goats are waiting for them in h*ll thanks to SAA & Hezbollah advances. Also, Russia´s tactic is paying off since more civilians manage to get out daily.

      It took a while but the anti-US merc´s-terrorist operation has the over-all upper hand and Aleppo is saved so leave Kerry and Obongo and their Saudi Barbarian paymasters out of it . They are not so arrogant now are they?
    • Yaffle
      In cultivating Islamic extremism, the US created the Mujahideen in Pakistan-Afghanistan, aided and abetted by Saudi Arabia, which has morphed into a Frankenstein-type monster that is still funded by the Saudis and armed by the US. This Takfiri monster is used by the US as a form of covert warfare to further its aim of world-domination. If the Syria plan succeeds, then Iran and Central Asia will be next on the list to be embroiled in US-instigated warfare using Takfiri proxies. Bargaining with the US is bargaining with a rattlesnake, and NOT to be recommended.
    • gbiyanju
      There is a real emergency!
      Someone needs to stop Lavrov before he agrees to another dangerous deal with us on Aleppo (which by now is actually off-topic for a rational non-western-stooge diplomat)!
    • peaceactivist2
      All that pointed their gun barrels toward the government troops must be eliminated, period.
    • Darrell Rin reply togbiyanju(Show commentHide comment)
      gbiyanju, they just need to keep stalling Kerry, that will keep him out of the way until they get the rest cleared.
    • anne00marie
      Qatar to Europe Pipeline.

      Aleppo is free. So what can Kerry do now, to keep the shareholders in the Qatar to Europe Pipeline deal sweet?

      Why did he go to the Antarctic, when the US Election results were being announced? He has no power and watch him melt away, into the distance, hissing and squealing all the way.
    • Darrell Rin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie, Kerry is from the US, he can just give him a bad deal, then he can take that trip to the Antarctic.
    • anne00mariein reply toteddy j(Show commentHide comment)
      teddy j, What did Obama say to Putin, starting way back, when he could be more accomodating after the US election? Then you had the potatoes that Kerry gave Lavrov, (which Lavrov then gave back to Kerry).

      'People in the world do not call Moscow or Bejing to lead, they call us' Obama

      'And it is the United States that is training and arming Forces, fighting to win back territories in Iraq and Syria. But ISIL does not threaten America's national existence' Obama.

      What did Obama say about Russia being a 'regional power, that does not make anything, An isolated nation with it's economy in tatters'?
      (January 13 2014, Russia Winter Olympics and cookie monsters in Ukraine comes to mind, when remembering January 2014)
      Here's Photos Of John Kerry Awkwardly Handing Potatoes To Russia's Sergei Lavrov... www.businessinsider.com/john-kerry-potatoe-sergei-lavrov-2014-1?IR=T
    • anne00mariein reply todouble bonus(Show commentHide comment)
      double bonus, Does that mean that Syria and Russia will carry on as normal, cleaning it all up? The US will have no input, apart from watching with their mouths open and a few means of getting their special forces out.

      No doubt that would also benefit Trump, going into office, with Syria sorted, one way or another. The only one it will not benefit is Obama and his backers, but I am sure that Putin will be more considerate once the inauguration is out of the way and he has the time to listen to Obama?
    • anne00mariein reply togbiyanju(Show commentHide comment)
      gbiyanju, This time 15 months ago, what was the chance that Aleppo would have been freed? Russia does not rush in all guns blazing, they look at the bigger picture and take their time. Giving their foes many opportunities to redeem themselves, but also showing on the world stage, just what their foes are upto.

      Look at how stupid Russia has made the US and NATO look? With a full audit trail of their actions in Syria and the actions of others.
    • elsa.zardiniin reply tosapper(Show commentHide comment)
      sapper,

      Indeed! Indeed! I kept saying that all United Nations' meetings about Syria had to take place in Aleppo, rather than in Geneva or wherever. But my proposal went unheard (¡Ha!)
    • teddy jin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie,

      you are so right about this anne00marie. and as you bring up the long-view of it with your other post on the 180 degree turn from what the ''emperor of nothing to write-home to mother about" obama...

      what a whimpering way to ''go out" - unless he and his administration and cohorts being so desperate to be ''relevant' at all -- just will try to cause some big mess some more just for the pure folly of it all.

      isn't it amazing? i didn't even realize that he said some other things along those lines before you reminded us about what he said now ''long ago" when he thought he was ''on top of the world".

      what a creep - he and the people around him in the 'creepy capitals" they call their offices as masters of the world..creepy people - really.
    • teddy jin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie,


      EXACTLY!!! ''a full audit trail" of their misdeeds -- ewe..exactly the closing chapter of obama's ''career" - with lavrov now- in a complete turning of tables...able to say OPENLY to the world

      "the USA SUPPORTS TERRORISTS" -- imagine that -- just a few words - in the perfecftly ''american" way of short catchy phrases -- but THIS time

      THE complete truth!! undeniable and most importantly INESCAPABLE by the USA. that no ''courts' or 'conferences' -or UN settings in NYC can let the USA squirm out of........and what's more -- a record to show held in keeping by a VERY powerful, capable country such as russia -- not some small economy or defenseless or small influence country that can not command the world's attention .

      the USA being JUDGED by the world - based on the USA'S own misdeeds.
    • teddy j
      there is only one way to ''resolve the conflict' as kerry puts it.

      the USA should STAY OUT of the whole picture. period.
      the conflict STARTED because of the USA intrusion with its allies in terror who could NEVER have done what they did without USA arms and political and financial and strategic cover.

      this IS the american empire's doing - so to resolve it and give back syria TO syria -- America OUT, out out, get out..everywhere in the world -- get out, Yankee go home. is as true today as ever. and tomorrow and forever. get out.
    • Erik Tretein reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
      ivanwa88, Obamba is desperate to leave office with some kind of "Positive" legacy - right now he is batting ZERO! So what is Kerry offering? More importantly, why would Trump honor any agreement made by a lame duck president? Kerry could not separate his " moderates" from the Daesh for over a year, he has absolutely NO verisimilitude when he says that he will do it now. Kerry, just what can you possibly bring to the table at this late date?
    • teddy jin reply toivanwa88(Show commentHide comment)
      ivanwa88,

      i think that kerry america are desperate to ''cut a deal' -- but trying to still FOOL russia with the same lines and promises (because they have no other lines really and never had any other) - and the reason or one POSSIBLE is that

      if they can get russia/syria to ''allow" a deal -- and have a pocket of aleppo -- it stops potentially any more syrian army retaking under this deal -- and in THAT pocket or neighorhood group where the ''moderate rebels" will be reduced to - are actually AMERICAN CIA operatives .

      i suspect that all this time -- there are americans there who are TRAPPED for months now the moment the russians and syrians encircled the whole of aleppo -- and it will be a huge and THE biggest physical proof that americans -- not just by circumstantial evidence or documents or videos of terrorists -- ARE the masterminds of global terrorism. DIRECTLY subject to being brought to courts of justice across the world...

      they are trying to preserve what remaining stronghold they THOUGHT was going to be the capital of their new ''country" through the terrorists -- - and they THOUGHT it was going to be an american outpost - an actual city like they hd in baghdad - until the russians disrupted the whole plan..but where else where they going to direct the terrorist operation from if NOT from the captive and most important strategic city of aleppo?

      though it is just my suspicion -- i think the americans were so SURE of it - they literally OCCUPIED the city themselves deep inside it with the terrorists -- and now are trapped. and are exactly like HITLER in his bunker.

      so if that is the case - at least potentially -- imagine the CIA operatives there still unable to ''get home to america"? and slither away like the snakes that they are -- or like american soldiers committing fcrimes everywhere and being ''SAFELY" routed to the USA to avoid justice - this TIME -- they are CAUGHT in the web of their own making?

      yet -- what are they going to do as russia/syria clear out the swamp the USA terrorists created? they will then BRING THEM out of their RAT-HOLES!! out into the open ...a mister smith , a mister kelly, a mister AMERICAN-NAME CIA operative right there huddled witht heir client terrorists that they called "Moderates".

      but could they then make themselves ''disappear?" HOW when surrounded by russians and syrian army? in full view of the world as to the exits? if this is the cfase - THAT'S what kerry is trying to hide.

      to get some kind of ''moderate opposition automous" region that supposedly is 'off -limits' to others - SO THAT THE AMERICAN operatives can be ''quietly'' smuggled out some other way. BEFORE they are found out. and PUT ON DISPLAY.
    • ivanwa88
      teddy j...FYI...just 2 days ago Putin on video on Fort Russ stated the 5 most disappointing events this year one was Kerry telling him blatant lies (his words) on separating terrorists.
      So this latest effort from Kerry must have had a double edge sword (veiled threat) or promise to end escalations and vacant bases in Northern Syria is my guess but again is just utter lies of which Putin is vividly clear on.
    • sapper
      I guess the yanks will do a deal when their special forces look like getting captured in Aleppo.
    • goldcamshaft
      Ignore Kerry, Ignore the usa.
      They kept playing games, playing groups against groups and when there were cease fire agreements, they played more games. Kerry is now bent on setting some achievement on paper before he gets his unemployment notice, They were all convinced that Clinton would have been the new Prez and then all the cards would be played without any mercy.
      Ignore! Ignore! Ignore!
      Remember what the usa did to President Putin upon the Maidan saga? They did not want to communicate while they were setting the sanctions, the traps and the nato network. Remember the MH17 saga? No communication was sought, no expert support needed, no expert input needed from Russia. However, Russia was to be blamed. Silence was the word of the month.
      Payback time is here!
      There are lots of tomatoes in america to be crushed. There's a job for the Secretary.
      He might be good at it. He was a lame duck on the present job.
      But, Russia cannot think that Trump will have the solution to the problems. He will still be controlled by some of the remaining and some new hawks in Washington. Besides, the AIPAC, military complex, big banks and big businesses will not sit by and see their life's ambition and work go down the drain.
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