US stepping up push for ceasefire, aid in Syria-officials

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry will push to secure an immediate Syrian ceasefire and aid for civilians ahead of a crucial meeting in Munich this week as he seeks to keep a fragile peace process alive, U.S. officials said.
The renewed struggle to salvage diplomacy comes as Syrian opposition figures, Western diplomats and analysts voice concern that peace efforts have been all but doomed by a Russian military push that has shored up Syrian President Bashar Assad's hold on power.
Critics of Kerry's approach question whether a ceasefire, if one can be achieved, may come too late. The Syrian army advanced towards the Turkish border on Monday in a major offensive backed by Russia and Iran that rebels say threatens the future of their nearly five-year insurrection against Assad.