In a sharp deterioration of relations, the United States followed through on Secretary of State John Kerry’s threat to suspend bilateral contacts with Russia about Syria:
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” Mr. Kirby said. “The United States spared no effort in negotiating and attempting to implement an arrangement with Russia aimed at reducing violence, providing unhindered humanitarian access, and degrading terrorist organizations operating in Syria,” including fighters of the Islamic State and the Levant Conquest Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda also known as the Nusra Front.
“Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments,” the statement added. “Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the cessation of hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need.”
The cease-fire agreement, which Kerry negotiated with Russia, collapsed after a few days as Syria and its Russian ally intensively bombed rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the northern Syrian city that has become a focus of the war in Syria.
According to the New York Times article, Roughly 275,000 civilians are trapped in those areas, including an estimated 100,000 children. Hundreds of people there have been killed in the past week.
The suspension occurred after Russia, decided to send more war planes to Syria, warned the U.S. not to attack the Syrian regime and halted cooperation on a joint U.S.-Russia program for disposal of weapons-grade plutonium.
The U.S. will withdraw personnel that it had dispatched to take part in the creation of a joint U.S.-Russia center that was to have coordinated military cooperation and intelligence had the cease-fire taken hold. The suspension will not affect communications between the two countries aimed at “de-conflicting” air operations over Syria
This is the result of President Obama’s “Red Line” blunder on Stria and his misguided “deal” with Russia on Syria’s chemical weapons, which allowed Russia a renewed foothold in the Middle East. Those missteps along with Obama’s appeasement of Iran over its nuclear programs leave Putin with the perception that Obama is weak. That’s a dangerous thing and so is the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia.