reported that in the meeting Obama and his advisers would
consider military and other options in Syria as Syrian and
Russian aircraft continue to pummel the city of Aleppo and other
targets, U.S. officials said.
U.S. officials said they considered it unlikely that Obama would
order U.S. air strikes on Syrian government targets, and they
stressed that he might not make any decisions at the National
Security Council meeting.
A readout of the meeting released by the White House noted that
the United States had broken off bilateral talks with Russia on
reaching a ceasefire in Syria. It said Obama directed his team
to continue multilateral talks with "key nations" to seek a
diplomatic resolution to the civil war.
The brief summary made no mention of other U.S. options in
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov will return to Syria talks on Saturday, three
weeks after the failure of their painstakingly drafted
Kerry has pointedly avoided new bilateral negotiations with
Lavrov, and his invitation to the Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and
Iranian foreign ministers to join them for talks in Lausanne,
Switzerland, will broaden the discussion to include the most
powerful backers of Syria's government and rebels.
Pressure is rising for a halt to a ferocious, three-week-old
Syrian government offensive to capture the rebel-held eastern
zone of Aleppo, where the United Nations says 275,000 civilians
still live and 8,000 rebels are holding out against Syrian,
Russian and Iranian-backed forces.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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