WASHINGTON — Activist network Avaaz is launching an ad campaign in the Foggy Bottom metro station near the State Department ahead of high-level U.S.–Russia diplomatic talks on Friday, calling for the two countries to focus on Syria in their talks.
The poster features a smiling Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president whose forces have murdered around 100,000 Syrians, standing in front of a pile of rubble and wearing a T-shirt that tells the United States and Russia “without you I’d be out of a job.”
“When Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet in Washington on Friday, they’ll be greeted by a smiling Syrian dictator thanking them for keeping him in his job,” Avaaz’s release reads.
Russia’s support of Assad’s regime is expected to be a primary topic at the “2+2” meeting in Washington on Friday, which will involve Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and their Russian counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu. Kerry said during a visit to Moscow in May that he and Lavrov had agreed to convene peace talks on Syria, but both sides quickly descended into squabbling over longstanding issues like the role of Iran and the fate of Assad. Kerry has since turned his attention to launching peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.