The US top diplomat has been unwilling to challenge Russia’s support for the Assad regime, which is emboldening Damascus, the head of Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
“Kerry has been unwilling to treat Russia as an accomplice in allowing Assad atrocities,” HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said during public remarks at the Atlantic Council think tank.
“The U.S. needs to pressure Russia to stop Assad’s atrocities,” Roth said, adding that its lack of coercion has been “a major shortcoming” for Washington. “A peace process in Syria requires an end to Assad’s atrocities against Syrian people,” Roth added.
Russia has been Assad’s staunchest ally, providing diplomatic protections at the UN Security Council and military assistance that has included training, aerial raids and supplying military equipment.
Roth also slammed the US efforts to resettle refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, saying that they are “completely stingy.”
The Syrian Coalition repeatedly raised doubts about the effectiveness of the anti-ISIS international coalition’s strategy to defeat ISIS so long as it did not tackle the root cause of terrorism in the region, namely the Assad regime.
Former President of the Syrian Coalition Khalid Khoja attributed ISIS’s surge in the region to the “reluctance of the friends of the Syrian people to stop Assad’s killing machine, especially the failure to supply the FSA with advanced weapons needed to counter regime forces.
Khoja also said: “Assad is no longer strong enough to regain control all over Syria. He depends solely on his air force to bomb rebel-held areas, while on the ground he depends on the Afghan and Pakistani mercenaries, among other militias.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Anadolu Agency)