Kerry explores possibility of encouraging Syria ceasefire

Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to his Russian counterpart Monday about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire in Syria’s civil war.

"We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localized ceasefire in Aleppo,” Kerry said at a news conference in Paris, according to Reuters.

Kerry had earlier discussed the proposition with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

They also discussed Syrian President Bashar Assad’s possible willingness to remove obstacles to aid entering the country.

Lavrov said Assad has suggested he’d open up routes to besieged areas. Russia supports his government. 

On Sunday, Kerry said he was confident the opposition groups in Syria would come to the table for peace talks with Assad’s government later this month. 

"I am confident personally that the Syrian opposition will come to Geneva," Kerry said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Syria’s civil war, which began in early 2011, has left hundreds of thousands of people dead. The UN’s human rights arm decided last week to stop updating the death toll there because of the lack of access on the ground to reliable sources.

The negotiations are scheduled to begin in Geneva, Switzerland on Jan. 22.