14:46 GMT +319 January 2018
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    Kerry Discusses Military Option in Syria With State Department 'Dissenters'

    © AFP 2018/ BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
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    Secretary of State John Kerry met with ten of the 51 diplomats who called for military intervention in Syria in an internal memorandum, while US policy planners were close to develop an official response, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Kirby noted that Kerry was largely in “listening mode,” and thanked the diplomats for using the dissent channel, a process which the secretary respects.

    “The Secretary [Kerry] read the memo, decided he wanted to meet with some of them [signatories],” Kirby stated. “We scheduled a meeting even as the policy planning group was working on [an] official response which…if it is not done it will be done very soon.”

    On Friday, Kirby told Sputnik that an internal memorandum was under review, funneled through the “dissent channel.” A draft of the memo, signed by 51 diplomats, was obtained by The New York Times from a State Department official on Thursday.

    The United States remains committed to a political process in Syria, adding that there is no military solution to the conflict, Kirby stressed.

    Russia recognizes President Bashar Assad as the legitimate authority in Syria, and has repeatedly stated the Syrian people should be free to choose their leadership without outside intervention. The United States and some of its allies have been supporting elements of the opposition, including Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda, and have urged Assad to resign.

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    U.S. Department of State, John Kirby, Syria
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