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Kerry Says No Deal With Russia Until Aid Flows To Aleppo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Washington will not agree to begin the joint targeting of Islamic militants in Syria until aid begins to flow to the besieged residents in the war-torn country.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry gave the message to Lavrov via telephone on September 16 and said the United States expects Moscow to use its influence on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "to allow UN humanitarian convoys to reach Aleppo and other areas in need."

The State Department said delays in the assistance had been "repeated" and were "unacceptable."

The truce went into effect on September 12 and has been mostly holding across the war-torn country despite minor violations.

Viktor Poznikhir, the first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff's operations directorate, said on September 16 that Syrian troops had returned their tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery to their original positions after previously withdrawing them as agreed to in the cease-fire.

He said Syrian troops were forced to return to those positions along Castello Road because they were being shelled by opposition groups.

In New York, the United States and Russia have called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in Syria.

The council is expected to hold those closed talks later on September 16.

At least 250,000 people have been reportedly killed since the Syrian civil war began in early 2011, while millions of others have fled their homes.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and dpa