John Kerry calls for ‘grace’ as Aleppo nears fall

John Kerry met with his international counterparts on Saturday to urge Russia to allow safe passage for Aleppo residents as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army moves closer to capturing the city. Photo courtesy Kerry/Twitter

PARIS, Dec. 10 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia to “show a little grace” in allowing safe passage for Aleppo’s residents as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s army moves closer to capturing the city.

Kerry, in a meeting with his counterparts in France, Germany and Qatar in Paris, acknowledged the Syrian president’s strategy to work in concert with Russian forces to destroy Aleppo has succeeded.

“Russia and Assad have a moment where they are in a dominant position to show a little grace,” Kerry said. “Fighters … don’t trust that if they agreed to leave to try to save Aleppo that it will save Aleppo and they will be unharmed and free to move where they are not immediately attacked.”

Kerry said a larger body of work needs to be accomplished to assist Aleppo in a path forward and a larger political solution in Syria.

“But it really depends significantly on big choices, magnanimous choices, choices of a genuine peaceful spirit that might come from Russia . . . and, at the urging of Russia, from the Assad regime.”

Russia said tens of thousands of people have left Aleppo in the past days during a humanitarian pause in fighting, but on Saturday more bombs fell. Kerry and U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson were among the leaders who condemned Assad’s “indiscriminate” bombing as a crime against humanity. Johnson accused Assad of a “flagrant disregard for human life.”


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