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Pentagon Firmly Against Military Intervention in Syria

Syria

For years, the Pentagon has been against direct U.S. military action in Syria’s civil war.

Early last month, defense officials objected to a deal reached with Moscow by Secretary of State John F. Kerry that would couple a cease-fire and delivery of humanitarian aid with U.S.-Russian counterterrorism cooperation against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked forces in Syria.

But the cease-fire did not hold. The U.N. Security Council is deadlocked over how to respond to the Aleppo crisis and the U.S. and Russia have failed to reach an agreement on renewing the short-lived cease-fire.

A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with Secretary Kerry in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss efforts to find a peace deal in Syria. This would be the first face-to-face encounter between the two men since Washington broke off diplomatic contact with Moscow over the violence in Aleppo earlier this month.

Amid increasing internal tension, one senior administration official insisted that both the Syrian opposition and U.S. allies have pressed for a continuation of negotiations and discouraged talk of military intervention. Obama’s position on the subject, this official said, has been “consistent. We do not believe there is a military solution to this conflict. There are any number of challenges that come with applying military force in this context.”

The State Department said Kerry would meet with “key regional partners” in Lausanne to discuss ways to resolve the Syria crisis, without specifying who they were. It said Kerry would discuss a “multilateral approach” to ending the crisis, “including a sustained cessation of violence and the resumption of humanitarian aid deliveries.”

In Obama’s recent speech at the United Nations, the official noted, Obama repeated that “there’s no ultimate military victory to be won” in Syria. Instead, Obama said, “we’re going to have to pursue the hard work of diplomacy that aims to stop the violence, and deliver aid to those in need, and support those who pursue a political settlement.”

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Military Spouse Among Those Killed in Brussels Terror Attack

brussels2

By Debbie Gregory.

A U.S. official has confirmed that one, and possibly two Americans killed in the terrorist attacks in Brussels were the spouses of U.S. personnel. While their names have not yet been released, it has been confirmed that one of the victims was the wife of an Air Force lieutenant, and that the lieutenant and other family members were injured..

Due to privacy concerns, U.S. European Command would not release details of the service member’s injuries or the number of family members involved. But U.S. officials have confirmed the officer was a lieutenant colonel.

European Command is continuing to confirm the safety of U.S. military personnel and families in the region, including those who may be there on vacation or official travel.

The injuries bring the total to at least four Americans who were hurt in the explosions that ripped through the Brussels Airport and a metro station Tuesday. Mormon Church officials said three missionaries from Utah were seriously injured in the airport attack and have been hospitalized.

Secretary of State John Kerry vowed that the U.S. will “provide any assistance necessary” to Belgium in their shared fight against terrorism.

“We will not be intimidated, we will not be deterred, and we will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength,” Kerry said. “And we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of this Earth.”

The Islamic State terror group has claimed credit for the attacks, which were carried out by as many as five bombers, three of which are believed to have died and two who are being sought. Authorities believe the bombers used suitcases packed with explosives and nails, producing blasts so devastating that identifying bodies has been difficult, and sending deadly shrapnel hurtling through the airport terminal and metro station.

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