US & UK fire ‘war crimes’ accusations at Moscow as rebels shell Aleppo civilians
“We are outraged by what is happening in Aleppo, which is in year 2016, beginning of the 21st century, horrendous step back in time to a kind of barbarianism, a use of force that is an insult to all of the values that the United Nations and most countries believe should guide our actions,” John Kerry told journalists on Sunday.
“It’s a humanitarian disaster that is the largest humanitarian disaster since WWII. And it could stop tomorrow morning, tonight if Russia and the Assad regime were to behave according to any norm or any standard of decency, but they’ve chosen not to. Instead we see what can only be described as crimes against humanity taking place on a daily basis,” he added.
“A hundred thousand kids now under a terrible medieval siege … by the Assad regime and its puppeteers in the form of the Russians and indeed the Iranians,” said the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson standing beside Kerry.
Not all of those in Aleppo are innocent children, Johnson admitted, implying however that it is the fault of Damascus and Moscow that the US is failing to deliver on its obligations and separate what it calls moderate rebels from terrorists.
“We need to see if we can get the terrorists, Al-Nusra, identified in Aleppo. I think that’s absolutely the right way forward,” Johnson noted, adding that “more and more people as a result of this action by the Assad regime and its supporters are being radicalized.”
The second part of the “twin-track strategy” would be to continue pressure on the “Assad regime and its supporters,” Johnson added. “The ideas and proposals to keep that pressure on include economic proposals... and measures to bring the culprits for the slaughter to justice before the International Criminal Court or some other tribunal.”
Although military “options” are also on the table, both diplomats admitted that these would be “extremely difficult” to implement, and that the West is likely to continue resorting to its well-tried ”diplomatic tools.”
However, Secretary Kerry does not have a “strong reputation” for truthfulness, a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate, Richard Hayden Black, told RT.
“I think, the things that he say should never be taken at face value. You really need to look at the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground show that there’s no deliberate targeting of civilians by either Russia or by Syria,” Black said.
“You know, the hyperbolic language used by Secretary Kerry is really outrageous,” Black added. “Now, no one wants any civilians killed but I’ve got to tell you what if you compare that to the American casualty figures during our invasion of Iraq, during the first year period, we killed approximately a hundred thousand civilians.”
Aleppo is currently divided into the eastern part held by rebels, including some from Al-Nusra Front, and the rest of the city under the control of government forces.
“There’s no doubt that the civilians are being killed in the east, there are significant numbers being killed in the west, and the civilians killed in the west are being deliberately killed and deliberately targeted as civilians. Whereas those in the east are simply being killed because they happen to be in the battlefield,” said Black.
“The combatants who are holding out in east Aleppo are financed and controlled by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United States. These powers have the ability to pressure the rebels to, say, get the civilians off the battlefield,” believes Black. But instead, he says, those in controls of east Aleppo “have forbidden the civilians from leaving using the civilians as human shield, because they know that it forces Syria and Russia to be much more cautious with the bombing.”