07:58 GMT +330 March 2017
    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'

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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
    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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    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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    • avatar
      Darrell R
      Let's hope Trump sticks to his views he expressed on this during the election. As for Kerry, he has got to be the most unreliable diplomat in the US. That's probably why Obama hired him. Aleppo is going to be returned to Syria, Kerry is just trying to stall it again. They just need to stall Kerry while they get on with the business of clearing Syria of terrorist and thugs that want to exploit the people.
    • choticastile
      No wonder Kerry is panting for a deal.... covering their rear ends in Syria as Obama declares war on daesh commanders?

      'Find and Kill': Obama 'Has Good Reason to Crack Down on Al-Nusra Front'

      Read more: sputniknews.com/politics/201611121047375328-obama-trump-alnusra-syria-assad
    • avatar
      double bonus
      Kremiln to Work With Obama on Syrian Settlement Before Trump Takes Office

      [Russia will continue its contacts with the administration of incumbent US President Barack Obama on settlement of the ongoing Syrian crisis and will not wait until the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.]

      [MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The work on settlement of the Syrian crisis has to go on, because events in the war-torn country are developing "rapidly," Peskov said in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper. "At the moment the United States have an incumbent president and he will be in office for two more months. For example the events in Syria are developing so rapidly that no one could afford a two-month pause. That's why the work will go on," he said.]

      [He added that it was necessary to be patient and to see how Trump's administration would act.]

      [Trump won the US presidential election on Tuesday with 290 electoral votes against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's 232. The presidential inauguration will be held on January 20, 2017.]

      [On Friday, Peskov also said that the Syrian civil war was a "burning issue" and Moscow cannot wait several months before the January inauguration and would continue to cooperate with Obama's administration at the moment.]

      I would think that if Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says it, then that could be considered as Russia saying it, rather than a private analyst.
    • avatar
      Erik Trete
      Kerry, Talk to the hand, the face is tired of listening to your lies. Kerry well knows that once Aleppo is liberated, not only will the terrorists loose an important piece of real estate, a major transit hub for supplies, but it will also free up 1000's of SAA soldiers and assets for the liberation of other important areas which will begin to fall like dominos.
    • 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?
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      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)!
    • avatar
      All that pointed their gun barrels toward the government troops must be eliminated, period.
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      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
    • avatar
      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?
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply tosapper(Show commentHide comment)

      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!)
    • avatar
      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?
    • avatar
      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.
    • avatar
      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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