LONDON, Oct. 16 (UPI) — The continuing path of carnage and civilian death in Aleppo has leaders in the United States, Britain and western Europe considering sanctions on Russia and Syria if the merciless methods the countries are using to fight the Islamic State don’t change.
A weekend of meetings in Europe among leaders shows a growing willingness to levy economic sanctions against Russia and Syria because of the brutal results of airstrikes in Aleppo. While there is no taste for a full military incursion in Syria western countries are not taking the option fully off the table.
“I think the most powerful weapon we have at the moment is our ability to make President [Vladimir] Putin and the Russians feel the consequences of what they are doing,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Sunday. “They’re starting to feel the pressure and it is vital that we keep that pressure up, and there are a lot of measures that we’re proposing to do with extra sanctions on the Syrian regime and their supporters, measures to bring those responsible for war crimes before the international criminal court.”
Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with leaders from Germany, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, the United Nations and the European Union on Sunday.
The meeting followed one Kerry held Saturday in Geneva with leaders from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
More than 400,000 people have died during the civil war in Syria, with the number of civilians killed by the fighting — especially in Aleppo — continuously increasing. In recent weeks, attacks on humanitarian aid convoys, hospitals and residential areas have dramatically increased concern among the United States, western Europe and countries in the Middle East that care to spare civilian lives during the ongoing conflict is not being taken.