Syria talks in Lausanne end without agreement

Syria talks in Lausanne end without agreement
The US, Russia and Syria's neighbours whose diplomats gathered in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss new ideas for reviving a Syrian could not agree on stopping the continued violence.
2 min read
15 October, 2016
John Kerry described the meet as a "brainstorming" session [Anadolu]

The United States, Russia and Syria's neighbours whose diplomats gathered in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss new ideas for reviving a ceasefire in the war-torn country could not come to an agreement on stopping the violence.

US Secretary of State John Kerry described the meeting as a "brainstorming" session and that despite tensions between the parties had not descended into rancour, with all agreeing on the urgency of the crisis.

"I would characterise this as exactly what we wanted," he told reporters at the Lausanne hotel where he met Russian, Iranian, Saudi, Turkish, Egyptian, Jordanian, Iraqi and Qatari envoys.

"There were some difficult moments, where there was obviously tension, but everybody was constructive,” he said, of a meeting that included regional rivals Tehran and Riyadh.

However, Kerry’s positive impression of the meeting was not shared by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who told reporters the discussions did not meet expectations.

"People in Syria are stuck in the fighting, there is air bombardment in Aleppo, they suffer from hunger and regime attacks. When there is a meeting like this, everyone has some expectations and these expectations came to nothing. There is no agreement here on implementing any decision," Cavusoglu said.

The Turkish foreign minister also said there were disagreements about how to deal with former al-Qaeda franchise, Fateh al-Sham Front (formerly al-Nusra Front) who are deeply embedded among rebel fighters in Aleppo. 

"There are different opinions. We say the fighting should stop and al-Nusra fighters should be cleared [from eastern Aleppo]. There are different opinions on which one should be done first," he said.

As diplomats were holding talks in Lausanne, at least 11 civilians were killed in northern Idlib province after Russian warplanes struck a medical depot and houses in the town of Turmanin.

“A Russian warplane struck a medical depot and a number of houses in Turmanin, north of Idlib, killing 11 civilians and injuring nearly 20,” Jaber Abu Mohammad, a local media activist told The New Arab.

“The medical depot has been put out of service by the strike due to the level of destruction caused,” Mohammad added.

Over 400,000 people have died in Syria’s war, while a further five million have become refugees. Human rights groups say that pro-regime forces are responsible for the majority of civilian deaths in the conflict.