Kerry: Russia Enabling Syria's Pursuit of Military Path
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Syrian government is trying to win a military victory over the opposition, and that Russia is enabling President Bashar al-Assad on that path.
Speaking Monday in Jakarta, Kerry said Syria's strategy is evident in its continuing barrel bombing of civilians, and that Russia's deliveries of arms and aid are helping Mr. Assad's pursuit of a military solution over a political end to the civil war.
VOA correspondent Scott Stearns, who is traveling with Kerry, said the secretary wants the international community to use a break in the talks to figure out how best to pursue a political solution.
Russia has been both an ally of Mr. Assad and, along with the United States, a lead player in bringing the Syrian sides together for the peace talks.
US Celebrates Presidents' Day Holiday
Millions of workers and school children in the United States are getting a day off Monday for the annual Presidents' Day holiday.
It first became a federal holiday in 1879 to celebrate the February 22 birthday of the first U.S. president, George Washington.
Nearly a century later, in 1968, Congress passed a law shifting the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to predetermined Mondays in order to give workers three consecutive days off.
Retailers take advantage of the holiday - held on the third Monday in February - to promote sales and price cuts on their products.