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Kerry Accuses Assad Of 'War Crimes' As Aleppo Offensive Rages On


A man in a wheelchair flees with others into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo on December 9.

A man in a wheelchair flees with others into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo on December 9.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Syrian government’s bombardment of the city of Aleppo amounts to "war crimes" and has called for Damascus allies Russia and Iran to help end it.

Kerry's remarks came as the Syrian government launched a fresh round of air strikes on December 10 targeting the shrinking rebel enclave in Aleppo.

Kerry, speaking to reporters after a meeting in Paris with the Syrian opposition and top European diplomats, said, "Russia and [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad have a moment where they are in a dominant position to show a little grace."

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged a diplomatic solution to the nearly six-year-old conflict, saying that "we need to tie down the conditions for a genuine political transition, and negotiations must resume on a clear basis."

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, "there can be no military solution in Syria."

U.S. and Russian military experts and diplomats were due to meet in Geneva later on December 10 to discuss details about the rebels' exit from eastern Aleppo.

Kerry admitted his expectations of those talks were "very constrained."

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on December 10 that Syrian government forces had halted their offensive to allow for the evacuation of civilians.

Moscow said some 50,000 civilians had fled the eastern part of the city over the past two days.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, said heavy clashes were still under way on December 10.

In less than a month, Syrian government troops and allied militias have taken over 85 percent of east Aleppo, containing the rebels to just a few neighborhoods.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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