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U.S. Threatens to Suspend its Coordination with Russia in Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People walk amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo, Syria on April 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/Ameer Alhalbi)

Washington – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov of suspending any cooperation regarding Syrian crisis, if Russia doesn’t halt assaults in Aleppo, Syria.

Secretary Kerry admitted it would be “diplomatic malpractice” to abandon talks with Russia on restoring a ceasefire in Syria, but threatened to do it.

Kerry made it clear during a phone call with Lavrov that U.S is making preparations to suspend U.S.-Russia bilateral engagement on Syria, especially the joint center for military coordination, “unless Russia takes immediate steps to end” the heightened carnage in Aleppo.

State Department said that United States and its partners hold Russia responsible for the situation including the “drastic escalation” of its military actions in recent days and its refusal to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian aid to government-besieged areas.

Pentagon officials refused to comment on the reports saying that Syrian opposition had been armed with defense systems and they stressed that U.S. aim is to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

State officials reiterated the importance of diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.

Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Syrian opposition did indeed receive weapons from several countries including anti-tanks missiles and night vision tools.

U.S. Department of State spokesperson Mark Toner said in a briefing on Wednesday that the United States is getting close to cutting off cooperation with Russia on implementing a ceasefire in Syria.

“I can’t put a date certain or an hour certain, as on when that door will close – since we are using that metaphor, but I think that it’s very close,” Toner told reporters.

Toner refused to confirm reports about arming the opposition, saying that such a thing could escalate the war.

He added: “Really, until the past few weeks, we felt like we were on a firm path towards a possible diplomatic resolution to this.” But he did admit that it is a difficult stage in Syria, and U.S. still believes it is useful to proceed with the political process to overcome the obstacles.

“We still believe that the best one is diplomacy, that the best solution is political, that what needs to happen is creating the kind of conditions where the opposition and the regime can resume talks – that have thus far – failed to get to a political solution,” he concluded.