Kerry criticises Russia for backing Assad, says efforts to broker Syria peace deal must continue

US State Secretary John Kerry gives a speech in Brussels on Oct 4, 2016.
US State Secretary John Kerry gives a speech in Brussels on Oct 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - US Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Russia on Tuesday (Oct 4) for its "irresponsible and profoundly ill-advised decision" to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said efforts to end the war in Syria must continue, in spite of the US decision to break off talks with Moscow.

"I want to be clear that we are not giving up on the Syrian people and we are not abandoning the pursuit of peace," Mr Kerry said a speech in Brussels. "We will continue to pursue a meaningful, sustainable, enforceable cessation of hostilities throughout the country - and that includes the grounding of Syrian and Russian combat aircraft in designated areas."

The United States broke off talks with Russia on Monday (Oct 3) on implementing a ceasefire agreement in Syria, accusing Moscow of not living up to its commitments under a deal to halt fighting and ensure aid reached besieged communities.