Syria and Russia must ground their planes in Syria immediately, Kerry demands
Say what you will about that John Kerry but the man has swagger. Speaking at the UNSC yesterday the Secretary of State demanded that Syria and Russia immediately cease flying over North-Western Syria:
Secretary of State John F. Kerry called on Russia and Syria on Wednesday to “immediately ground all aircraft” flying in key areas of northwest Syria where a humanitarian convoy was destroyed Monday, and accused Moscow of inventing its “own facts” to explain the air attack for which Russia is responsible.
This would leave the United States, Australia, Britain, Denmark, Belgium, France and Saudi Arabia as the only countries allowed to operate anywhere in the Syrian skies.
Apparently this is the only thing that can “avoid escalation” and salvage the ceasefire deal he had worked out with Lavrov –- a deal that has been dead for days now.
At the same meeting the Russian Foreign Minister suggested an investigation into the destruction of a UN aid convoy in Aleeppo but Kerry angrily condemned Lavrov insisting the Russians should just come forth and admit it was them:
Kerry also replied scornfully to Lavrov’s description of the attack. “I don’t think we can let anybody here, if we’re going to deal with this situation, have their own set of facts about Syria,” he said.
“Twenty aid workers were killed in an outrageous, sustained, two-hour attack directed at a fully authorized humanitarian mission near Aleppo.”
Pentagon officials have said their “preliminary” conclusions are that the convoy was hit by a Russian airstrike. Those conclusions, he said, have been supported by some activists and other humanitarian groups.
“Yes, the coalition did hit people on Saturday,” Kerry said. “We did it. It was a terrible accident. Within moments of it happening, we acknowledged it. We didn’t put out a bunch of obfuscating facts.
We said, ‘Yeah, it’s a terrible thing, it happened.’ The Defense Department apologized, and we tried to find out how it happened.”
But the view from the air of “people running around with guns on the ground . . . is a different thing from trucks in a convoy, with big U.N. markings all over them,” Kerry said.
The White House has previously explained that Russians should be considered responsible for the damage to the UN convoy even if it turns out it was not they who attacked it.
According to The Washington Post Russian diplomats did not dignify Kerry’s proposal with a response.