Last updated: 9 September, 2015

Kerry and Lavrov hold second Syria call, as US fears boost for Assad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the Syrian conflict with US Secretary of State John Kerry for the second time in four days Wednesday, amid US concerns over an alleged Russian military buildup in the war-torn country.

The two discussed “the problems of regulating the conflict in Syria,” the foreign ministry said in a terse statement, without giving further details.

US officials on Tuesday said three Russian military transport planes had landed in Syria in recent days, and that new housing units had been set up at the airport in the port city of Latakia, suggesting a possible increase in Russia’s military support for embattled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Moscow denies its activities in the country go beyond its known deliveries on commercial contracts and activities at the Soviet-era naval facility in the coastal city of Tartus.

Kerry aired US concerns to Lavrov Saturday, telling him that if there was indeed a Russian buildup, “these actions could further escalate the conflict,” the State Department said.