The United States has accused the Syrian government led by President Bashar-al-Assad of using "starvation as a weapon of war." The Assad-led government has been conducting airstrikes backed by Russia in Aleppo against the Syrian rebels, which has led to a loss of hundreds of civilian lives.
The US rejected Russia's recent claims that the airstrikes have stopped. "The regime has rejected UN requests to deliver aid to Eastern Aleppo — using starvation as a weapon of war," a US official said on Friday. Using starvation as a weapon is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
Reports state that thousands of people in Aleppo have been besieged and bombarded by the airstrikes for months now. The rising number of civilian casualty due to strikes and starvation has raised an international cry from many nations and organizations. The US government is also considering putting further sanctions against Syria.
The Russian government is backing the onslaught and has been participating in a war in Syria, where chemical weapons and barrel bombs have been used against the innocent civilians. The US officials are hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the destruction caused by the warfare and reconsiders his nation's participation in the onslaught.
"We are taking steps, whether it's ramping up public pressure or other forms of pressure. We are still looking at the whole arsenal of tools to make them feel the weight of international criticism, not saying that in and of itself is going to work. But we have some indication that they don't want to be viewed — the Russians in particular — as being guilty of war crimes," an Obama administration official was quoted as saying by AFP.
Although the Russian government has said that a ceasefire has been enacted in Aleppo, the US officials refute the claim. "Despite Russia's claims, attacks by the regime and its backers have continued in Aleppo. We continue to look at Russia's actions not their words to determine if Russia is meeting their claims about their military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime," the officials added.