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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US, Partners Mulling Syria, Russia Sanctions Over Aleppo

By Luis Ramirez October 16, 2016

In a move reflecting frustration over new efforts for a cease-fire amid escalating human rights abuses in Syria, the United States says it is "considering additional sanctions" against President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian supporters, an action that could come in the next few weeks.

"We are pursuing diplomacy because those are the tools we have," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after meeting Sunday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany in London. "I do not see a big appetite in Europe for people to go to war."

Talks on the five-year-old conflict moved to London after Kerry had conversations Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Switzerland to brainstorm on finding a way forward after the collapse of a cease-fire in the embattled city of Aleppo.

There was not much movement in Kerry's meeting with European partners, either, other than a resolve to increase pressure on Syrian government forces and Russia to stop airstrikes on the city.

With European partners seeking to de-escalate the war, Kerry and his European partners said diplomacy remains the only option.

"We are trying to find a way forward in those circumstances," Kerry said.

Kerry launched his new, two-day effort Saturday in Switzerland, less than two weeks after Washington suspended bilateral talks with Moscow, following the collapse of the latest cease-fire in Aleppo.

The United States and its partners are concerned about the humanitarian toll of airstrikes by Russian and Assad forces that have killed hundreds of civilians in Aleppo and blocked aid supplies from reaching a quarter of a million people trapped in the city.

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