Draws New Red Line For Assad In Syria
new deadline for Syrian President Bashar Assad's
transition out of power: August 1, US Secretary of
State John Kerry
said in a news conference at the State
Department on Tuesday.
date for the transition is the first of August,"
Kerry told reporters. "So we're now coming up to
May. So either something happens in these next few
months, or they are asking for a very different
ultimatum was reminiscent of Kerry's warning in 2011
that Assad's days were "numbered," as well as
President Barack Obama's "red line" speech in 2012
outlining the conditions — namely, the use of
chemical weapons — that would prompt the US to take
action against the embattled president. But then, as
now, Kerry did not specify which "track" Washington
would take to force Assad's ouster.
for the future," Kerry said.
responded to questions about Assad's departure after
announcing a new plan to end the latest wave of
violence in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, where
more than 250 civilians have been killed in less
than a week by government airstrikes and rebel
Under a new
cease-fire arrangement, US and Russian military
officials "will be sitting at the same table" at a
coordination center in Geneva to monitor and
document any violations of the truce, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday in a
news conference from Moscow with the UN's envoy to
Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
will include Aleppo moving forward.
Russia — a
staunch ally of Assad — had initially refused to
include Aleppo in the cessation of hostilities
agreement because of Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra's
presence in parts of the city. It used the group to
justify the continued airstrikes.
result, joint US-Russian efforts to end regime
bombardments there have largely been made on
Moscow's terms, and Kerry acknowledged that
negotiators were still trying to figure out how to
target Nusra — which is not party to the cessation
of hostilities agreement — without hitting rebel
groups who have agreed to abide by the cease-fire.
somehow commingled? Are they fair game? These are
the kinds of things that have to be worked out so
that there's no misunderstanding" about "who is
doing what, where, when, and how," Kerry said. "We
don't control the terrorists."
case, Kerry insisted the US would not allow Aleppo
to fall to the government. He said there would be
"repercussions" if forces loyal to Assad did not
abide by the new terms.
does not adhere to this [cease-fire], there will
clearly be repercussions, and one of them may be the
total destruction of the cease-fire and then go back
to war," Kerry said. "I don't think Russia wants
that. I don't think Assad is going to benefit from
that. There may be even other repercussions being
however, Kerry did not specify the consequences the
Assad regime or Russia would face if it violated the
strategy is to somehow think he's going to just
carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the
country, I got news for you and for him: This war
doesn't end," Kerry said. "As long as Assad is
there, the opposition is not going to stop
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