White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest provided a bleak outlook for Aleppo on Monday when New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris asked him about rebel-held parts of the city falling to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Aleppo looks like it will fall fairly soon to the government of Bashar al-Assad,” Harris said at the White House daily press briefing. “Do you have any further reaction to this impending disaster, which looks like it will happen in the coming several days?”
Earnest responded that President Obama and his administration continue to be “profoundly disturbed” by the violence that the Assad government is waging against innocent Syrians in Aleppo. He then criticized the Russians for willingly supporting the Syrian government’s actions.
Earnest then referenced a report from earlier on Monday that said there were hundreds of thousands of children in besieged areas of Syria.
“It’s difficult to comprehend,” Earnest said. “And it’s tragic. And there’s no positive spin to put on a situation like that. What I can tell you is that the United States continues to work diplomatically to try to bring the violence to an end and try to provide for routine and continuous humanitarian aid deliveries.”
“But a solution that looks like that has remained frustratingly out of reach,” Earnest added.
He said the United States has not stopped trying to come up with solutions in Aleppo, but he did claim that it is “impossible” to impose a military solution there.
At least 4,000 people fled rebel-held eastern Aleppo and went to the government-controlled western side of the city to register with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the New York Times reported Monday.
As the rebels absorbed the harshest blow since they seized more than half the city four years ago, it seemed increasingly likely that President Bashar al-Assad would eventually manage to take back all of Aleppo.
That would give the Syrian government control of the country’s five largest cities and most of the more-populous west, leaving the rebel groups that are most focused on fighting Mr. Assad with only the northern province of Idlib and a few isolated pockets in the provinces of Aleppo and Homs and around the capital, Damascus.
Iran, Russia, and Lebanese Hezbollah are allied with Assad in the Syrian civil war and have assisted in efforts to attack civilians and prevent humanitarian access from getting to them.
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