Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Accuses Russia of Thwarting Syrian Effort ; U.S. Says Moscow's Aid and Arms Are Allowing Assad to 'Double Down'

Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Accuses Russia of Thwarting Syrian Effort ; U.S. Says Moscow's Aid and Arms Are Allowing Assad to 'Double Down'

Article excerpt

Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that the Kremlin was undermining a solution to the war with its continued support of the Syrian president.

Secretary of State John Kerry has sharpened the Obama administration's criticism of Russia's role in the escalating violence in Syria, asserting that the Kremlin was undermining the prospects of a negotiated solution by "contributing so many more weapons" and political support to President Bashar al-Assad.

"They're, in fact, enabling Assad to double down, which is creating an enormous problem," Mr. Kerry said Monday in Jakarta, Indonesia, before heading to the Persian Gulf to confer with top officials of the United Arab Emirates, which has been a strong supporter of the Syrian opposition.

Mr. Kerry's tough criticism underscored the erosion of the Russian-American partnership in Syria and raised questions about the viability of the United States' diplomatic strategy to help resolve the escalating crisis.

President Obama has been deeply reluctant for nearly three years to get the United States directly involved in Syria's civil war, and he pulled back the threat of cruise missile strikes in September after Mr. Assad agreed to eliminate his chemical arsenal. While chemicals for making poison gas are being shipped out of the country, behind schedule, Mr. Assad's conventional attacks on civilians have escalated significantly. Now Mr. Obama is calling for a review of what one senior official called "both old and new options" to bolster opposition forces and ease a desperate humanitarian crisis.

Administration officials, however, insist that those options do not include directly supplying more sophisticated, heavier armaments to the rebels, who are already receiving some weapons and training under a limited C.I.A. program, or carrying out airstrikes in a civil war that Mr. Obama fears could turn into a prolonged conflict. Instead, the United States is considering paying salaries to some of the rebel forces and providing more transportation and intelligence, American and European officials said.

Mr. Assad's hold on power has grown over the past year, according to the head of American intelligence. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.