WASHINGTON (AA) – America’s top diplomat has balked at Russia’s support for the Syrian government, and thereby emboldened Damascus, the head of Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
“[John] Kerry has been unwilling to treat Russia as an accomplice in allowing Assad atrocities,” HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said during public remarks at the Atlantic Council think tank.
“The U.S. needs to pressure Russia to stop Assad’s atrocities,” he said, adding that its lack of coercion has been “a major shortcoming” for Washington.
"A peace process in Syria requires an end to Assad's atrocities against Syrian people," Roth said.
Russia has been Damascus’ principle ally, providing diplomatic protections at the U.N. Security Council and military assistance that has included training, aerial raids and supplying military equipment.
Roth also slammed the U.S.' efforts to resettle refugees fleeing Syria's conflict, saying that they are "completely stingy."
President Barack Obama pledged last year to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the beginning of October, but so far only about 2,000 have been settled. It is unclear if the U.S. will be able to reach that goal.
The war-torn nation is now the lead source country for refugees with one in four hailing from Syria, according to the U.N.'s refugee agency.