Speaking to reporters today, Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia and the Syrian government both halt all offensive operations inside Syria, making no moves against any rebel factions, saying Russia had an obligation to ensure that the Assad government also stopped trying to gain territory in the civil war.
Kerry presented this as a self-evident part of the ongoing efforts to resolve the war, saying continued fighting was “very, very troubling to everybody” and raised doubts as to whether or not Russia was serious about ending the war, what with its willingness to back offensives with airstrikes.
The comments seem more than a little hypocritical, coming amid a massive US-backed offensive in the north Syrian city of Manbij. Though Kerry insisted in his comments that the US is obliged to keep rebels from launching offensives, there’s been no sign they’ve even attempted to do so.
If anything, the US has grown more aggressive in backing offensives in Syria in recent months, with heavy airstrikes in and around Manbij killing several hundred civilians over the past two months. While Kerry has criticized Russian efforts to evacuate civilians from combat zones, he has been silent on the many civilians getting killed by the US not making efforts to get the population of Manbij out of the way before pummeling their homes.