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US tells Russia: Our patience on Syria ‘very limited’

On a visit to Norway, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Moscow must push Assad to respect the ceasefire and allow aid deliveries

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US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Wednesday that US patience on the Syria conflict and the fate of its President Bashar al-Assad was running out.

“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite, in fact it is very limited with whether or not Assad is going to be held accountable,” Kerry said during a visit to Norway.

Speaking to the Oslo Forum on conflict resolution and mediation, Kerry said the truce “may not succeed” and that Russia, in particular needed to exert more pressure on Assad to respect the ceasefire and allow aid deliveries.

Kerry also spoke of the challenge of combating extremist groups and terrorism, while rejecting claims that the world is engaged in a “clash of civilizations” between the West and Islam.

“No, this is not a clash of civilizations, this is a struggle between civilization itself and barbarism, between civilization and fundamental raw political exploitations and mix of medieval and modern fascism, together at the same time,” he said.

Earlier on the same day, the top US diplomat also met his Iranian counterpart visit to the Scandinavian state, to once again discuss Tehran’ complaints that it’s not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under last year’s landmark nuclear deal.

Kerry also raised the importance of Iran using its influence with Syria’s government to ensure humanitarian aid deliveries and respect a fragile truce with moderate opposition groups. He said later that the truce was “frayed and at risk” and that it was “critical for a genuine cessation of hostilities to be put in place.”

He indicated that U.S. patience with Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies was wearing thin.

(With AFP and the Associated Press)