February 5, 2016 / 8:14 AM / 3 years ago

Luxembourg's Asselborn urges Putin to help with cease fire in Syria

BERLIN (Reuters) - Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to help bring about a ceasefire in Syria as tens of thousands Syrians flee aerial bombardments on the city of Aleppo.

“It’s up to Russia to bring about a ceasefire and permit hopes for a new start in Syria,” Asselborn told German radio Deutschlandfunk. “Are the 260,000 dead in Syria not enough?”

However, Asselborn also admitted a ceasefire was still “very, very far away” after the United Nations suspended peace talks on Wednesday.

Russian-backed air strikes have tipped the momentum in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The bombing helped the army and allied fighters to sever a major supply line to the northwest of Aleppo.

Asselborn said he doubted Saudi Arabia’s offer to take part in any ground operations against Islamic State by the U.S.-led alliance would help much.

“I don’t believe that ground troops could make a real difference,” he said.

Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Caroline Copley

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