BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI —
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met separately with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday for talks about Syria's civil war. The meetings came on the sidelines of a forum of South East Asian nations in Brunei.
A senior State Department official says Kerry and Davutoglu focused on ways to strengthen opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to expand humanitarian assistance for civilians displaced by the fighting. Both men expressed concern over attacks by Assad loyalists against civilians in the city of Homs and over what a U.S. official called "Hezbollah's continued violent and destabilizing interference in Syria."
Turkey is a front-line ally among countries backing the rebellion, especially those, such as the United States, who now say they will help arm Assad opponents.
Russia, on the other hand, is arming Assad forces and says those who would give weapons to rebels risk having those weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. While backing opposing sides in this conflict, Kerry and Lavrov continue to work toward Syrian talks on a transitional authority to end the civil war. That was the focus of their meeting here in Brunei.
Kerry says he and Lavrov agree there can not be a military solution to the Syrian crisis. The secretary of state began this trip 12 days ago, meeting with Syrian opposition supporters in Doha, all of whom agreed to increase their support for the rebellion, nine of the eleven agreeing to provide weapons.