Washington, Dec 13: Expressing deep concern over the increasing violence in rebel-held Aleppo, the White House on Monday said the "terrible situation" in Syria's eastern city is worsening despite America's "best diplomatic efforts."
"The US government continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in Aleppo and the violence there is only increasing. The risk facing innocent civilians has been grave for some time. It continues to worsen," Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Despite America's best diplomatic efforts to reduce the violence and increase the flow of humanitarian assistance, the Bashar al-Assad government, backed by the Russians, continues to try to bomb innocent civilians into submission, he alleged.
"It's a terrible situation that does not appear to be getting better," he said. Responding to a question, Earnest conceded that the US is still looking for a cease fire with Russia.
"The goal was to try to end the bombing. The few innocent civilians that remain, try to get them out of harm's way, and try to allow the flow of humanitarian assistance to these communities that have been shut off from the outside world for a long time," he said.
"So those were the goals all along. In the months and years that we've been negotiating to try to find a diplomatic solution, we've been rebuffed by the Syrians because, with the backing of the Russians and the Iranians, they've continued to wage this war with virtual impunity," he rued.
Earnest said the door for a ceasefire with the Russians remains open. "We continue to be interested in trying to find a diplomatic solution to the situation not just in Aleppo, but in Syria, because we know that there's not a military solution that can be imposed on the situation," he said.
"We are still interested in diplomacy. We still are open to and interested in trying to find a diplomatic resolution. But optimism is not high," he acknowledged.