Obama: Russia must show it is serious in ending Syria war

Obama at UN, Barack ObamaWashington, (IINA) : US President Barack Obama said Thursday that Russia must show genuine intent to end the civil war in Syria, stressing that Washington would try to work with Moscow despite concerns about Russian support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, DPA reported.

Russia must show it is “serious” about defeating ISIS in Syria, Obama said, noting the US does not trust Russian President Vladimir Putin but pursue all avenues to end the Syrian civil war and defeat the ISIS terrorist group. “The depravity of the Syrian regime has rightly earned the condemnation of the world”, Obama said at the Pentagon, after a briefing about US efforts against ISIS in the region. “Russia’s direct involvement in these actions over the last several weeks raises very serious questions about their commitment to pulling the situation back from the brink”.

Obama outlined broad progress in the fight against ISIS militants in both Iraq and Syria after his meeting with military and intelligence officials.

“Even ISIS leaders know they’re going to keep losing”, he said. “In their message to followers, they’re increasingly acknowledging that they may lose Mosul and Raqqah”. However, defeating the terrorist group in Syria will require an end to the civil war, and Obama called on Moscow to do more as US officials contemplate closer cooperation with Russia.

“So far Russia has failed to take the necessary steps”, he said. “It is time for Russia to show that it is serious about pursuing these objectives”.

A series of airstrikes by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies hit the besieged rebel side of Aleppo on Thursday amid fierce ground fighting in the contested northern city, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the bombardment targeted the opposition-controlled neighborhoods of al-Qalasa, Bustan al-Qasr, and the Electricity Company in eastern Aleppo. The Britain-based watchdog did not report casualties.

Meanwhile, fierce fighting was raging along most battlefronts of Aleppo, especially in the southwestern parts of the city, amid initial information about rebels’ advances against regime forces, according to the Observatory’s network of activists inside war-torn Syria. Syrian state radio said shells fired by rebels fell on the regime side of Aleppo, injuring dozens.

At least 16 civilians, including four children, were killed overnight in airstrikes by unidentified jets on rebel-held areas in Aleppo, the Observatory said. In recent weeks, opposition activists have blamed intense air attacks in the eastern section of the city on the Syrian regime and Russian warplanes.

Last month, al-Assad’s forces besieged Aleppo’s rebel-controlled districts, after they captured all supply routes into those areas, raising fears of a humanitarian disaster.


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