In an interview with the Boston Globe, Secretary of State John Kerry says that Russian bombing in Aleppo would have ended sooner had he not clashed with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Kerry, who is preparing to leave public service after 34 years, told the Globe he had a plan to share responsibility for military operations in Syria with Russia. At the time, many criticized Kerry's plan as an attempt at alignment with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's allies after the White House had declared Assad a war criminal. Kerry told the Globe he attempted to counter that argument by including a provision in the plan that allowed the U.S. to veto Russia's strategies in the region if they saw fit.
Negotiations over the plan reportedly failed when Kerry had disagreements with Carter.
“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation of [Kerry's plan] extremely hard to accomplish,” Mr Kerry said.
“It’s late now obviously because of what’s happened to Aleppo,’’ Mr Kerry said, but he added that he believed there would have been a "different situation" in the city had his plan worked.
Aleppo has become a scene of carnage as Assad has attempted over the last four months to take back the city from all anti-Assad rebel factions. Civilians have been trapped in the city and unable to flee as Russia began bombing the city while the Syrian army worked on the ground.
Incidences of torture and slaughter have been rumored. Meanwhile, trapped civilians have been sending farewell messages on social media as Assad's forces gained ground. Late last week, civilians began to evacuate, but The Guardian reports Sunday that those evacuations have been halted as anti-Assad forces bombed evacuation buses sent to help pro-government civilians flee the city.
Kerry believes the only way forward is through peace talks.
“That’s the only ultimate solution to the war," Kerry told the Globe. “The issue is, are you going to be able to patch the country back together. I’m trying to line it up so the opposition will understand and embrace the idea of having those talks, even at this difficult moment. And it’s hard."
Carter criticized the Russians Thursday for deviating from their stated plans for becoming involved in Syria, which he says was only to help facilitate the political transition in the region.