British government calls on Russia to persuade Assad to end violence


The “overwhelming majority” of Syrian cease-fire violations have been committed by the Assad regime, Britain’s foreign secretary said in a call for Russia's help to stop the violence. 



Philip Hammond said the ongoing peace talks in Geneva would only succeed if all sides were committed to them, and that Russia had a duty to use its influence to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into ending hostilities. 

His comments on Thursday came after the United Nations warned it could not deliver aid to 35 besieged and hard-to-reach areas in the war-torn country next month if the violence continued. 

“The regime continues to block and delay humanitarian access to besieged areas such as Daraya and removes vital medical supplies from those convoys that are allowed through," he said in a statement. 



“The Cessation of Hostilities also continues to be violated, in the overwhelming majority of cases by the Asad regime [sic], which in the past week has bombed hospitals, schools, markets, and a search-and-rescue centre. 

“Now is the time for those with influence to apply real pressure to end this spiral of violence. Russia has set itself up as the protector of the Asad regime, so it has a duty to bring its full influence to bear.” 

Earlier Thursday, Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy on Syria, appealed for a U.S. and Russian initiative “at the highest level” to end the Syria crisis, saying the truce was “in great danger” and “could collapse any time”. 

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