United States President Barack Obama on Friday said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, Russia and Iran are responsible for massacre in Aleppo. Obama also said that the US could not have done anything to stop the carnage in Syria, except for a military takeover.
The US President warned Assad saying that he will not be able to "slaughter his way to legitimacy." The Russia-backed Syrian regime's war to prove its sovereignty has displaced thousands of people in the city of Aleppo and caused a humanitarian crisis, where trapped civilians died of hunger and children perished under rubble of buildings struck down by Russian and Syrian warplanes.
"The world as we speak is united in horror at the savage assault by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo. This blood and these atrocities are on their hands," Obama said at an end-of-year news conference.
Obama said that there were times when he asked himself whether the US did enough to stop the conflict in Aleppo. "There are places around the world where horrible things are happening and because of my office, because I'm the President of the United States, I feel responsible. Is there something I could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn't deserve to suffer?" Obama said.
Obama highlighted that the only way to stop the war would have been a large-scale US military intervention in Aleppo. "Unless we were all in and going to take over Syria we were going to have problems. It sounded like the right thing to do but it was going to be impossible to do this on the cheap," he said.
Aleppo evacuation suspended
The evacuation deal came to a standstill in Aleppo on Friday after both the sides in Syria's civil war accused each other of fresh shootings despite truce deal. Syrian rebels had prepared to withdraw from Aleppo on Wednesday after a ceasefire agreement was struck, ending five years of violence in the Syrian city. The truce deal was struck after talks between Russia, President Assad's main ally in the war against rebels, and Turkey, a leading supporter of the rebels. However, the evacuation deal collapsed within hours after reports emerged of pro-Damascus Shiite militias obstructing evacuation of people in the region, and a new one was put in place.
Diplomats on late Friday sought to salvage the evacuation in eastern Aleppo, where around 50,000 people are still trapped, amid fears of a ceasefire collapse. The evacuation was put on a halt after reports of shooting at a crossing point into the enclave, soon after, the Syrian government pulled its buses which were evacuating people from the city.
There were also reports of the halt being connected to a different deal to evacuate thousands of people from the government-held Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya which are besieged by the rebels. The Syrian government on Friday said that the evacuation in the villages and the ones in eastern Aleppo need to be done simultaneously. However, the rebels said that there was no connection between the two evacuations. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that he was in talks with his Iranian counterparts to attempt to resume the evacuation on people in the region.