Daily Israel Report

Kerry: Intransigent Assad to Blame for Breakdown of Talks

U.S. Sec. of State blames Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the breakdown of talks between the regime and rebel groups.
By David Lev
First Publish: 2/17/2014, 11:24 AM

Free Syrian Army fighter in Aleppo
Free Syrian Army fighter in Aleppo
Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State on Sunday blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the breakdown of talks between the Syrian government and rebel groups. Assad, he said, was “intransigent” and “obstructionist,” and his current attitude precluded any chance of reaching a settlement in Syria, now in its third year of civil war.

“None of us are surprised that the talks have been hard, and that we are at a difficult moment, but we should all agree that the al-Assad regime’s obstruction has made progress even tougher,” Kerry said. Assad, he added, would bear the responsibility for the results “if his regime continues with its intransigence in the talks and its brutal tactics on the ground.”

The second round of talks between rebels and the government broke off Saturday, with no results. No date has been set for further talks, and it was not clear that any further talks would take place at all, officials said.

Kerry said that the U.S. remained committed to bringing about a solution using diplomatic means, despite what he called the current “recess” in the talks.

“There’s no recess in the suffering of the Syrian people, and the parties and the international community must use the recess in the Geneva talks to determine how best to use this time and its resumption to find a political solution to this horrific civil war,” he said.

According to human rights groups, more than 140,000 people, over 7,000 of them children, have been killed in the ongoing civil war. That, UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that figure does not include “the fate of more than 180,000 people missing inside the regime's prisons, nor does it include more than 7,000 detained by regime forces and armed groups loyal to it, or the hundreds of people kidnapped (by rebel groups) because they are believed to be regime loyalists,” the group said.