United States Secretary of State John Kerry is to use a trip to Moscow today to try to convince Russia to break the international deadlock over Syria after President Vladimir Putin demanded an explanation for Israeli air strikes against Syrian targets.
More than 100 Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed in the attacks, which sharply raised tensions.
Both Britain and the US have reiterated that Russia holds the key to any diplomatic solution in the Syrian conflict. "We certainly want to try to make another stab at it, to make another effort at it, because events on the ground have become steadily worse," said a State Department official. "The casualty figures are mounting, the rate of killing has gone up and as the Israeli strikes show, the situation is adding to instability in the region."
The meeting between Kerry and Putin represents a break in protocol, but reflects the growing urgency in diplomatic efforts to rein in the Syrian crisis.