Russia says it would support 48-hour truce in Syria's Aleppo

Deputy foreign minister of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov, on Thursday (29 September) said that Washington's statement on Syria showed US's "de facto support for terrorism".

He was referring to a statement by US State Department spokesman John Kirby who said on Wednesday that Russia had an interest in stopping the violence in Syria because extremists could exploit the vacuum there and launch attacks "against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities".

But the heavy use of Russian airpower in Syria has compounded USA distrust of Russian President Vladimir Putin's geopolitical intentions, not only in the 5-1/2 year civil war, but also in the Ukraine conflict and in what US officials say are Russian-backed cyber attacks on USA political targets.

He said the U.S. has no indication of Russia's "seriousness of purpose" and discussions made no sense at a time when Russian and Syrian warplanes were bombing rebel-held areas of Syria's second largest city.

Maria Zakharova said in a Thursday Facebook post that if Washington follows up on its threat to cut off cooperation with Russian Federation in trying to settle the Syrian crisis, it would mean that "the White House has taken the militants under its wing".

The White House said Thursday that Merkel also spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama by phone as well, and both agreed that Russian Federation and the Syrian regime "bear special responsibility for ending the fighting in Syria and granting the United Nations humanitarian access to besieged and hard to reach areas in Syria".

He appeared to offer Russian Federation another last chance, however.

"In order to solve humanitarian problems and provide humanitarian access, we have repeatedly offered 48-hour ceasefires, but American counterparts have fixated entirely on the requirement of seven-day breaks for reasons only known to them, " Ryabkov told reporters.

The harsh statement Thursday by ministry spokesman Maj.

Peskov urged Washington to deliver on a pledge to separate moderate Syrian opposition fighters from "terrorists" and called the latest USA statement on Syria clumsy and unhelpful.

As a result, one of the officials said, the list of options is narrowing to supporting rebel counter attacks elsewhere with additional weaponry or even air strikes, which "might not reverse the tide of battle, but might cause the Russians to stop and think".

Two U.S. officials said the speed with which the Syrians have advanced in Aleppo and the diplomatic track has collapsed caught some in the administration off guard. Since last week, the government has waged a major air campaign in Aleppo and threatened a wide ground offensive. Government forces claimed to have captured the area on Tuesday, in what would be the first government advance into the old part of the city.

Officials in Moscow have accused the United States of "supporting terrorism" and even threatening to sponsor attacks on Russian Federation amid a near total collapse of diplomatic contact following the breakdown of a ceasefire in Syria earlier this month.

"We can not interpret this as anything else apart from the current USA administration's de facto support for terrorism", Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Ryabkov also rejected United States calls for a week-long truce as "unacceptable", but said a two-day ceasefire could allow desperately needed aid to reach the more than 250,000 civilians trapped in Aleppo.

He also reiterated Russia's stance that a seven-day pause in the Aleppo offensive would give militant groups time to regroup.


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