A new round of diplomatic talks has failed again to find an end fighting in Syria, as a nine-nation meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne did not agree on any real steps to end the crisis.
The meeting came 12 days after Washington suspended bilateral talks with Moscow when a cease-fire proposal collapsed.
Assad regime, backed by Russia, said on September 22 it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on 19 September.
Since then, more than 700 civilians died since the start of the military operations, according to civil defense sources.
The meeting concluded after more than four hours without any joint statement from the participating countries.
Kerry was seeking a new path to peace after failing to secure a ceasefire in direct talks with Russia amid increasing international outrage over the Russian and Syrian bombardment of Aleppo’s rebel-held east.
Kerry hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region – from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.
European countries weren’t represented as Kerry planned to meet them in a separate event.
After the meeting, Kerry told reporters that the talks were “constructive”, but admitted that the parties had failed to agree on any concrete action.
Kerry insisted the new, leaner contact group had come up with some plausible ideas that would be fleshed out in the coming days and might lead to a new, stronger ceasefire.
“The way it wrapped up was to have several ideas that need to be quickly followed up,” he said after talks with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.
“The next contact on trying to follow up on this is going to be immediately, because this is urgent, and we’re not letting any grass grow under our feet.”
Lavrov, on the other hand, told Russian news agencies that the countries discussed several “interesting ideas”.
Russia said all participants in talks in Lausanne had agreed Syrians should decide their own future through inclusive dialogue and that the country should remain whole and secular, after the meeting ended without a breakthrough.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that in order for a U.S.-Russian ceasefire agreement to succeed and to facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries, Syria’s moderate opposition must separate from Jabhat Fatah al Sham, previously known as the Nusra Front, and other “terrorist groups” affiliated with it.
“At the same time, it should be understood that operations against terrorists of Islamic State and the Nusra Front will be continued,” the ministry said.
There are about 275,000 people trapped by the siege of eastern Aleppo, where civilians are suffering through daily bombing, including by bunker-buster and incendiary weapons, and through starvation, as limited supplies run out and aid convoys are blocked from the city.
Western powers have accused Russia and Syria of committing atrocities by bombing hospitals, killing civilians and preventing medical evacuations in Syria’s largest city Aleppo, as well as targeting an aid convoy with the loss of around 20 lives. Syria and Russia say they are only targeting militants.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.