In a recent press conference US Secretary of State John Kerry condemns Syria’s Aleppo barrel bomb raid. Kerry called the bombing raid a “barbaric” act. In a closed room meeting with two senators, Kerry admitted that US policy with Syria is failing and that it may be time to intervene on the side of the rebels.
The area of Aleppo has been divided since the rebels took the area in 2012 and much of the area has been razed by the fighting. The Syrian government, ruled by the Assad regime, has been dropping barrel bombs on the area daily for the past four days.
Kerry feels that the diplomatic approach with Syria is no longer working and is considering assisting the rebels with weapons and guidance. He wants to do this before the terrorist group Al Qaeda can attack the United States or its interests. He is concerned that the longer the delay in a US intervention the longer that gives the local Al Qaeda group to gather its strength.
Kerry is concerned by Syria’s slow play on the agreement to turn over its chemical weapon stockpile and that Russia is not offering much aide in ending the bloody Syrian civil war that has torn the country apart for the last few years. The Syrian government and rebel leaders meet in Geneva last week for scheduled peace talks, however it ended without any development. Another round of peace talks will commence next week.
Syria had an international deadline to hand over its condemned chemical weapon stockpile last week but failed in meeting it. The Russian government has stated that they are confident that Syria will comply by March 1 of this year and are not showing too much concern for the crisis in Syria. However the crisis in Syria is escalating and with the latest bombing raids, Kerry is not feeling reassured and feels that US diplomatic policy with Syria has all but failed.
The Syrian military dropped barrel bombs, oil drums filled with explosives, on Aleppo on Tuesday resulting in eight deaths. The bombs are highly lethal from not only the explosion but also the shrapnel they produce. Five children are among those who lost their lives. Over 150 people have died in similar attacks over just the past four days. Some witnesses say that the attacks are a daily occurrence.
Kerry said that every time Syria drops a barrel bomb we are shown the Assad regimes “true colors” and that they are committing “organized, wholesale torture.” Kerry also condemned Syria’s use of blocking food from whole communities in an attempt to starve out the people, placing many Syrian citizens in desperate need of aid.
Kerry as always wanted a more strengthened approach towards Syria according to Senator John McCain. McCain had warned Kerry not to make it a “half issue” and that he should address it head on, urging Kerry to do something to change the pace. Senator McCain and Senator Graham stated that they support Kerry’s appraisal of the crisis in Syria and that steps need to be taken to ensure Al Qaeda’s presence does not grow in the country.
Next week talks will resume between the rebels and the Assad regime and everyone is hoping for some progress in condemning the conflict and restoring stability to the region. In the meantime, the crisis in Syria will continue as more barrel bombs are dropped on innocent civilians, all the proof one may need to see that US diplomatic policy is indeed failing.
By Adam Stier