Kerry Leaked Audio: US Policy in Syria “Lacked a Serious Threat of Military”

Kerry Leaked Audio: US Policy in Syria “Lacked a Serious Threat of Military”
Sat Oct 1, 2016 17:14:58

US Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly complained in a meeting last week with a small number of Syrian civilians and others that his diplomacy "lacked a serious threat of military force", the New York Times revealed.

In a leaked audio recording of the 40-minute discussion that took place on 22 September, Kerry said that he and “three…four people” in President Barack Obama’s administration had “lost an argument” to back up diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria with the threat of using military force.

The approximately 20 participants included representatives of four Syrian groups that provide education, rescue and medical services in opposition-held areas and diplomats from three or four countries.

The meeting took place days after a ceasefire Kerry had negotiated with Russia had collapsed and areas of the Syrian city of Aleppo controlled by groups opposing President Bashar Al-Assad were coming under heavy airstrikes by Russian and Syrian forces.

“We’re trying to pursue the diplomacy, and I understand it’s frustrating. You have nobody more frustrated than we are,” Kerry said, perhaps indicating that his diplomatic efforts had reached their end.

The recording was made by a non-Syrian who attended the session, the newspaper reported, adding that several other participants confirmed its authenticity.

The New York Times said several people in the meeting pressed Kerry on what they saw as contradictions in US policy. It said one woman, Marcell Shehwaro, asked “how many Syrians” had to be killed to prompt serious action.

Kerry responded that “Assad’s indifference to anything” could push the Obama administration to consider new options, but he also said that “any further American effort to arm rebels or join the fight could backfire.” After seemingly ruling out military options, Kerry did not specify what other options the Obama administration was considering.

The New York Times said State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on what he described as a private conversation, MEMO reported.


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