U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says the only solution to the refugee crisis is ending the war in Syria, which he says will be difficult while Bashar al-Assad remains in power. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday (December 4) that an end to the war in Syria was the only way for the refugee crisis to be resolved and that for a cease-fire to hold, it would be difficult for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to remain in power and retain legitimacy. "It's a human catastrophe on a gigantic scale, and it is one of the reasons why so many people feel so strongly that Assad couldn't find legitimacy in the future to govern when three quarters of his country has already voted with their feet and has had to go somewhere else to avoid barrel bombing, to avoid gassing, to avoid starvation," said Kerry at a news conference during a visit to Greece. Kerry said the U.S. has already spent 4.5 billion dollars in humanitarian aid for refugees and planned to spend 24 million more in helping with food, tents and registrations centers in the Balkans, but that throwing money at the problem would not resolve anything. Russia and Iran, Assad's main allies, have said it will be up to the Syrian people to decide on Assad's role at a future presidential election. Russia has intervened militarily in support of Assad with air strikes against both IS and Western-backed rebels, while a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Sunni Arab states has been waging an air campaign against IS in Syria and Iraq. Most of the world's powers are now flying combat missions over Iraq and Syria against Islamic State. But any consensus on how to proceed has been thwarted by opposing policies over the 4-year-old civil war in Syria, which has killed 250,000 people, driven 11 million from their homes, left swathes of territory in the hands of jihadist fighters and defied all diplomatic efforts at a solution.