Syria Peace Talks Stall Between U.S. And Russia: ‘Grave Differences’ At G20 Summit Between Nations

The U.S. and Russia have stalled in talks after hopes that an agreement could be reached on a joint initiative to halt the Islamic State and the violence they have caused on Syria. The two nations have disagreed on a number of issues, which each had believed were formerly settled.

At the G20 summit taking place in China, the U.S. Department of State had shared that it hoped U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin would reach a common ground. On a day that Syria continued their siege on the city of Aleppo, a conference between the U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was surprisingly called off. After a number of talks occurred between the U.S. and Russia in Washington, Geneva, and Moscow, many had hoped an agreement could be reached.

The agreement between the two focuses on slowing down the Syrian air campaign brought against rebel forces in return for an agreement that Russian and Syrian airstrikes can be brought against Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al-Nusra Front forces linked with al-Qaida.

There have been many United States-backed Syrian rebel groups who worked alongside al-Nusra, so they are not eager to abandon the cooperation received from the groups. The argument stands that it is an effective force, and many are willing to risk lives to defeat their common enemy, President Bashar al-Assad.

The Guardian notes the complications and shifts that will occur in going ahead with this deal.

“In practice, it would be hard to disentangle US-recognised forces from al-Sham and would mean a level of unprecedented intelligence sharing between the US and Russia. Negotiators on both sides have spent weeks looking at maps of areas where opposition groups operate and where Assad’s forces would be prohibited from launching airstrikes. A deal might also open the way for the restoration of UN humanitarian convoys across Syria, and a ceasefire in Aleppo, where 250,000 civilians are still under the threat of starvation in the east of the city.”

President Obama spoke of the “grave differences” between the two nations over future actions to put an end to the violence in Syria, which has gone on for five years.

“I think it’s premature for us to say there’s a clear path forward, but there’s the possibility at least for us to make some progress.”

Members of the UN special envoy on Syria stated that they were hopeful a deal between the two nations could be reached before the G20, but talks have not resulted in an agreement and have not met the progress that was expected due to the broken trust between Russia and the United States.

Obama addressed members at the summit directly in regard to the stall in talks between the U.S. and Russia.

“It is a very complicated piece of business. These are difficult negotiations. We have grave differences with the Russians in terms of both the parties we support but also the process that’s required to bring about peace in Syria.

“But if we do not get some buy-in from the Russians on reducing the violence and easing the humanitarian crisis it’s difficult to see how we get to the next phase.”

The lack of trust between the two nations involves the United States being skeptical since Russia violated ceasefire treaties during the Syrian civil war. Russian forces have also been to blame for attacks on civilians. Such instances involved firing on a field hospital and an airstrike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital.

The foreign minister for Russia stated that a deal was close between the two nations but that “Washington had to dissociate itself from Sham.”

The minister relayed this to Russian media.

“Many of the groups considered acceptable by the US have actually affiliated with the Nusra Front, while the Nusra Front is using them to avoid being attacked.”

The Turkey-Syrian border is a hotbed for civil war at the moment, and the situation is developing swiftly as Syrian army and allied forces took control of the area south of Aleppo, which severed the final available route into the eastern neighborhoods held by rebels.

The U.K. monitor stated the situation for ISIS at the moment.

“Isis has lost its contact with the outside world after losing the remaining border villages.”

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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