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Kerry, Lavrov to resume Syria talks amid Aleppo row

The resumption of talks, despite the offensive, was a sign of the lack of options facing Western nations over the Syria conflict

Published: Updated:

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss Syria, officials said on Wednesday, as a devastating bombing campaign of the city of Aleppo intensified.

The Syrian government launched an assault to capture rebel-held areas of Aleppo last month with Russian air support and Iranian-backed militias, a week into a ceasefire agreed by Washington and Moscow.

Kerry broke off talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week over the offensive, which has included air strikes on hospitals that the United States and France said amounted to war crimes for which Syria and Russia were responsible.

The Syrian and Russian governments blamed their foes for breaking the ceasefire and said they target only militants in the city, the last major urban stronghold of the Western-backed rebels, where more than 250,000 people are trapped under siege.

The resumption of talks, despite the offensive, was a sign of the lack of options facing Western nations over the Syria conflict, where they worry scaled-up arms supplies for the rebels could end up in the hands of extremist groups.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Kerry and Lavrov would meet in the Swiss city of Lausanne to consider steps toward settling the conflict. The meeting was expected to include foreign ministers from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.