Russian Leaders Announce “Indefinite Delay” to Syrian Peace Talks

By Sarah Kuehn, International News Writer

Russia has issued a statement the resumption of the peace talks with Syria will be “delayed indefinitely” according to Reuters. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued a statement saying that the indefinite delay was caused by Western failure to rein in violent Islamists in Syria. Minister Shoigu explained that rebels, allegedly backed by Western governments, have been attacking citizens in Aleppo, though the Russian and Syrian government had paused their air strikes, according to Reuters.

A Kremlin spokesperson stated that there is a temporary pause in the airstrikes on Aleppo, but the pause cannot be extended if the rebels do not also halt their attacks, according to Reuters.

Insurgents attacked government-held western Aleppo last week, a month into a Syrian army operation to retake the rebel-held eastern districts.

The United Nations on Tuesday stated that all forces fighting in Aleppo may be committing war crimes because of the indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas of the city, according to Reuters.

Russia backs the civil war launched by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian support has reinforced Present Assad’s position as the civil war enters its second year. This has put Russia and the western forces opposed to Assad’s regime, the US and its allies, on a path leading to conflict, according to Reuters.

Russia and Syria halted strikes on Aleppo on October 18th. Western governments allege that the strikes on Aleppo had been killing civilians in large quantities, but Russia has denied these allegations, according to Reuters.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov explained that the halt in airstrikes made it possible for civilians to flee, and aid to be brought into Aleppo, according to Reuters. The Kremlin has also stated that future airstrikes will be based on the future behavior of the rebel groups backed by Western countries.

Shoigu stated that the rebels, having not stopped their attacks, wasted an opportunity for peace talks. He later stated that Western nations need to “determine who they are fighting against: terrorists or Russia,” according to Reuters.

He then continued by stating that “In order to destroy terrorists in Syria it is necessary to act together, and not put a spanner in the works of partners.

Because the rebels exploit that in their own interests,” according to Reuters. This has been a common talking point of both Russia and the Assad regime as they attempt to delegitimize rebels and US backed forces.

Minister Shoigu also mentioned his surprise about specific European governments stoppingRussian navy ships bound for Syria to dock in the Mediterranean ports to refuel or resupply.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.

Contact Sarah at

sarah.kuehn@student.shu.edu

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