February 17, 2018
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US Urges NO-Fly Zones in Syria

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday told UN Security Council flights over opposition held territories in Syria should be banned to allow aid flow into the country.

Speaking at high-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss Syria, Kerry said: “We must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.”

Kerry’s remarks come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for cooperation on enforcing no-fly zones in Syria.

In a hot debate at the council, Kerry accused Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of living in a “parallel universe” upon Lavrov’s demand for an investigation in an attack on UN aid convoy earlier this week.

The American top diplomat told the Council that a medical facility in Aleppo was hit in airstrikes on Tuesday and blamed Russia and Syria for the attack.

“There are only two countries that have airplanes that are flying during the night, or flying at all in that particular area: Russia and Syria,” he said.

He said that the attack on the aid convoy and medical facilities raise “profound doubt” over whether Russia and Syria would live up to the deal made in Geneva on 8 September.

On Monday, the seven-day cessation of hostilities deal to allow humanitarian aid into the country came to an end, but with little progress in improving conditions on the ground.

The deal was terminated unilaterally by the Assad regime after a US-led anti-Daesh aircraft inadvertently hit a Syrian military camp and killed 62 Syrian soldiers.

The attack on the aid convoy came on the same day when Assad announced that the truce is over.

Kerry proposed that a way forward “out of the carnage” would be a ban on Syrian government forces flying over areas controlled by the opposition.

According to Kerry, the Syrian regime is hitting opposition groups under the cover of fighting against extremist groups.

Kerry’s call to ground flights comes weeks after the Defense Department said it wanted less flights in the region but refused to call it a no-fly zone.

- Originally appeared at Middleeastmonitor.com

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