John Kerry Likens Syrian Challenge to Charting a 'Course Out of Hell'

John Kerry stresses that negotiators have their work cut out for them.

"My friends, the challenge we face in Syria today is nothing less than to chart a course out of hell," Kerry said today in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Contrary to the claims of officials in Moscow, most of those strikes have been directed not against Daesh, but against other opponents of the Assad regime,” Kerry said, using an Arabic term for ISIS. "That is not, in our view, either smart or moral. The likely results will be to further radicalize the population, prolong the fighting, and perhaps strengthen the illusion on Assad’s part that he can maintain indefinitely his hold on power.”

“What they're discovering relatively quickly is that if they're not part of the political transition, then they're going to be part of the problem, and that problem's going to come home to roost for them.” Allen said today.

“I think they'll soon find out that the entire Sunni world is against them," Patterson said. “We have heard from many of our Gulf partners that, in terms of jihadis and extremists, they haven't seen anything yet because they'll be drawn into Syria in even greater numbers to fight against the Russians.

“And, of course, the Russians have their own problems with domestic extremism and on their border. So they may find out that this is not such a good deal as they had anticipated.”

The talks in Vienna about could begin Thursday night and are expected to last all day Friday.