The United States called on Russia and the Syrian government on Monday to refrain from offensive operations in Syria, as fighting continued on the day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hoped a political transition could begin.
Asked if he was dismayed Aug. 1 had come without a political transition to help end Syria's five-year civil war, Kerry said the target date was set earlier this year when there were hopes political talks could take hold amid a reduction in violence.
However, a "cessation of hostilities" that began in February has now all but unraveled. In the latest incident, a Russian military helicopter was shot down in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, killing all five people on board.
"It is critical, obviously, that Russia restrain both itself and the Assad regime from conducting offensive operations, just as it is our responsibility to get the opposition to refrain from engaging in those operations," Kerry told reporters.
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