Syria conflict: Turkey 'to make proposal to revive ceasefire'

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, says Washington will not be 'abandoning the pursuit of peace'

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The Independent Online

Turkey will make a proposal to revive the Syrian ceasefire deal and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spokesman has said.

Ibrahim Kalin also told broadcaster Haberturk in an interview that Mr Erdogan may speak by telephone on the issue with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The statement came as US Secretary of State John Kerry said that efforts to end Syria's war must continue despite Washington's decision to break off talks with Moscow over its “irresponsible and profoundly ill-advised” support for President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States suspended talks with Russia on implementing a ceasefire deal in Syria on Monday, accusing Moscow of not living up to its commitments to halt fighting and ensure aid reached besieged communities.

“We are not giving up on the Syrian people and we are not abandoning the pursuit of peace,” Mr Kerry said in a speech in Brussels.

“We will continue to pursue a meaningful, sustainable, enforceable cessation of hostilities throughout the country - and that includes the grounding of Syrian and Russian combat aircraft in designated areas.”

Mr Kerry charged that Russia had “turned a blind eye” to Assad's “deplorable” use of barrel bombs and suggested they were pursing a scorched earth policy in place of diplomacy.

“Where they make a desert, they call it peace,” he said, quoting the Roman historian Tacitus. He said if Russia was serious about peace, it would have to behave differently than it was now in Syria.

“Russia knows exactly what it needs to do in order to get that cessation implemented and in a fair and reasonable way,” he said.

US suspends bilateral relations with Russia over Syria

Mr Kerry said all parties had a duty to enable delivery of humanitarian assistance, adding that opposition groups had told the United States they agreed with that.

“It still remains for Russia and the regime to permit that and guarantee it,” he said.

Russian news agencies, citing Mr Kerry's counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow would continue to make efforts to resolve the Syria crisis despite the US suspension of the talks.

A spokeswoman for UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he was in “intensive consultations” on the way forward.

The speed with which the ceasefire collapsed - after a U.N. aid convoy was bombed in Syria - appeared to surprise some US officials, leaving them without a clear plan on the immediate way forward.

US President Barack Obama has been loath to get more deeply involved and he appears unlikely to do so with less than four months left in office.

Also on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein warned Russia over the use of incendiary weapons in Syria's besieged enclave of eastern Aleppo, and said any apparent crimes by one side did not justify illegal acts by the other.