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US Senator: Temporary truce in Syria unlikely to work

The deal for a temporary truce in Syria is unlikely to bring any breakthrough since it foresees no consequence for violations by Russia and the Bashar al-Assad regime, US Senator John McCain has said.

In remarks made during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference Sunday, McCain said: “This agreement permits the assault on Aleppo to continue for another week.

“It requires the opposition groups to stop fighting. But it allows Russia [to] continue bombing terrorists which it insists is everyone, even civilians,” he said.

“If Russia or the Assad regime violates this agreement, what are the consequences? I don’t see any,” he added.

The Republican senator, who chairs the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, argued that recent developments have shown that Russian President Vladimir Putin has no interest in a solution to the conflict.

“He wants to shore up the Assad regime. He wants to reestablish Russia as a major power in the Middle East. He wants to use Syria as a live-fire exercise for Russia’s modernizing military,” he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov clinched a deal in Munich on Thursday, at a meeting of world and regional powers, which agreed on the “cessation of hostilities” within a week and to immediately provide humanitarian aid to the besieged regions in Syria.

McCain said the deal is unlikely to stop Russian airstrikes, which so far targeted not only terrorist groups like Daesh, but also moderate opposition groups who try to topple the Assad regime, Moscow’s main ally in the region.

“How is it possible from a humanitarian standpoint to reach an agreement that allows the Russians to continue to do what they have been doing…and that is bombing indiscriminately innocent civilians who happened to be in areas that are controlled by the moderate opposition. That is immoral,” he said.

McCain criticized the Obama administration for failure of its Syria policy, and said Russia has managed to establish itself as the key player in Syria in a year, after its military intervention.

The Republican senator argued the recent conflict in Ukraine shows that Russian efforts for a temporary truce in Syria are mainly a tactical move.

“It is no accident that Mr. Putin has agreed on a cessation of hostilities when he did. We have seen this movie before in Ukraine,” he said.

“Russia presses its advantage militarily, creates new facts on the ground, uses the denial and delivery of humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip, negotiates an agreement to lock in the spoils of war, and then chooses when to resume fighting. This is diplomacy in the service of military aggression,” he added.

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