John Kerry says Russia and Syrian government should face crimes probe

Secretary of state John Kerry spoke before a meeting with French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault over a new Franco-Spanish resolution. Photograph: Mike Theiler/Reuters
Secretary of state John Kerry spoke before a meeting with French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault over a new Franco-Spanish resolution. Photograph: Mike Theiler/Reuters

Russia and the Syrian government should be investigated for war crimes, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“Russia, and the regime, owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children,” he said.

“These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes.”

Moscow has repeatedly denied attacking civilians, and said it targets terrorist groups in Syria.

Mr Kerry, however, said Russian and Syrian government attacks on hospitals were “beyond the accidental” and part of a deliberate strategy in war-torn Syria.

“This is a targeted strategy to terrorise civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives,” he said.

Mr Kerry was speaking in Washington at a news conference with the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Mr Ayrault is in Washington before a meeting of the UN Security Council, where he will present a plan for a further ceasefire to try to get humanitarian access to the divided city of Aleppo.

But Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, said France’s draft was unacceptable on a number of points and politicised humanitarian aid.

US and Russian talks on the crisis have cooled after the breakdown in a ceasefire brokered in September. Both sides blame each other for the collapse.

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