US halts Syria talks with Russia as air strikes destroy major hospital in Aleppo

russia-u-s-flags-on-syriaAir strikes destroyed a major hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday, a medical relief group said, as the US announced it had formally suspended talks with Russia on trying to end the conflict in the war-torn country.

The M10 hospital in Aleppo’s rebel-held east was “completely destroyed” following multiple strikes over the past week, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports the facility.

“The hospital is now not usable at all,” said SAMS spokesman Adham Sahloul. “It is not salvageable, per reports from the staff and doctors there.”

He said three maintenance workers were killed in the air strikes.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group confirmed that the hospital had been razed after “being directly targeted by air raids”.

News of the hospital’s destruction came as the United States announced that it was suspending talks with Russia on trying to end the violence in Syria, accusing Moscow of failing to live up to its commitments under a recent ceasefire agreement.

Little hope of a diplomatic solution

“The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the cessation of hostilities,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “This is not a decision that was taken lightly.”

The confirmation that the US-Russian talks on Syria have collapsed suggests that there is little hope, if any, of a diplomatic solution to end the 5-1/2-year-old civil war emerging anytime soon.

It could also trigger deeper US consideration of military options such as providing more sophisticated arms, logistical support, and training to Syrian rebel groups.

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