from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

The Killings in Aleppo

December 23, 2013

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The city of Aleppo in Syria is under air attack by Bashar al-Assad’s air force.

As al-Arabiya reported,

The Syrian air force on Sunday bombed a neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo killing at least 91 people, the Syrian Revolution General Commission reported. Hundreds of people have been killed during the past week in Aleppo as Syrian aircraft have dropped crude barrel bombs on the country’s onetime commercial hub, now largely reduced to rubble.

In nine days these air attacks have killed hundreds. The crude bombs kill indiscriminately and are instruments of terror. The target is the people of Aleppo, and these attacks are war crimes. They help explain why the Assad regime has now killed what is most likely 200,000 people and made millions homeless.

What is the reaction of the Obama administration? Read it in full:

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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 23, 2013

 

Statement by Press Secretary Jay Carney on the Ongoing Air Assaults by the Syrian Government

 

The United States condemns the ongoing air assault by Syrian government forces on civilians, including the indiscriminate use of SCUD missiles and barrel bombs in and around Aleppo over the last week.  The attacks over the weekend killed more than 300 people, many of them children.  The Syrian government must respect its obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population.  The Syrian government must  fulfill its November commitment to do more to facilitate the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, so that millions of Syrian men, women, and children have access to urgently needed services.  To bring the suffering of the Syrian people to an end, it is imperative that Syrians reach a comprehensive and durable political solution to end the crisis in Syria.  The United States remains committed to advancing a political settlement to help end the bloodshed in Syria.

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So, the Syrian government "must" do this and do that, it seems. It is "imperative," you see. And what will President Obama do about this continuing slaughter? Nothing--that is clear. His deal with Russia is about chemical weapons, and has no bearing whatsoever on the war crimes that are killing thousands of unarmed civilians who have the poor judgment to be eliminated by conventional weapons.

What does the world look like when there are no rules, and the United States provides no leadership? Like what we see today: mass killing occurs, and from the White House comes the wringing of hands. We are "committed to advancing a political settlement," but what if Assad is not? What if he is committed to advancing a military victory, to destroying his enemies? The coming conference on Syria in Geneva seems increasingly obscene against this backdrop of mass killing. And such statements from the White House are worse than silence, for they express impotence and lack of will. Once upon a time President Obama used to say Assad must go. Now it seems Assad may well last longer in office than Obama, whose apparent  indifference to the deaths in Syria will stain his record in office.

More on:

Middle East and North Africa

United States

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Syria

Human Rights

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