Continued Calls For Action As Syrian Talks Collapse

As the Geneva talks neared collapse, Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Russia and Iran for “undermining” negotiations by continuing to support the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

“Russia needs to be a part of the solution, not contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they are really enabling Assad to double down,” he said.

In a released statement, Kerry said Syria had “intensified its barbaric assault on its civilian population with barrel bombs and starvation. It has even gone as far as to add some of the opposition delegates at Geneva to a terrorist list and seize their assets” and called their actions “reprehensible.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced they would provide Syrian rebels with shoulder-fire missiles.

Three years into the Syrian war and more than 150,000 dead, many argue that something must be done. Stephen Hawking penned an op-ed in The Guardian calling the situation an “abomination” and asking, “Where is our emotional intelligence, our sense of collective justice?”

Samuel Berger, who served as national security adviser in the Clinton administration, also took to the editorial pages to urge immediate action.

Berger said the US must shift course and “pursue a strong set of actions that would address the immediate threat posed by al-Qaeda in Syria” while giving Geneva talks a chance to succeed.

“The United States will not be able to defeat al-Qaeda in Syria by itself. To counter it, we must strengthen the relatively moderate elements among the opposition. Only these groups, who speak and fight for the majority of the population and share the Syrian people’s desire to be rid of both Assad and foreign fighters, can seize and hold the ground claimed by jihadists,” he writes in The Washington Post.

Michael Rubin writes in Commentary, however, that before action is taken there should be a clear understanding of how the situation on the ground has changed.

“The sides have not altered their positions over the past three years despite a radically changing situation on the ground. Three years ago it might have made sense to support the Syrian opposition, but that was before the influx of foreign jihadis radicalized the opposition. Those meeting U.S. diplomats in Istanbul or Geneva simply do not represent the power on the ground. To provide the Syrian opposition with a qualitative military edge would be to risk such capabilities falling into the hands of al-Qaeda,” he writes.

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