"We have a situation that fuels our anxiety every day,“ declared Chancellor Angela Merkel in the face of the situation in Aleppo. There are a great many indications that hospitals and medical facilities are being targeted intentionally. "That is banned under international law, and criminal prosecution must be brought. The Assad regime must be aware of this,“ she stressed during her speech in the German Bundestag on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, we will persist in our efforts to find political solutions, "even when it appear as futile as it does at present“.
Situation in Aleppo
On Monday federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that efforts were focusing on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo. "The fact that medical services in the eastern part of the city have now collapsed almost entirely, and that many more children have died, is an intolerable and unacceptable state of affairs,“ he stressed.
The resumption of airstrikes on Aleppo with the support of Russian troops and the preparations for a major ground offensive against the rebel-held eastern part of the city, is further hindering any return to the desperately needed political process. This, said Steffen Seibert, "is making a ceasefire seem an increasingly remote prospect".
The German government regrets that the Syrian regime once again rejected a ceasefire proposed by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the weekend. "We thus see Russia called on more than ever to use its influence over the Assad regime," stressed the federal government spokesperson.
Russia and Iran’s support for the Syrian regime, that is focusing all its efforts on achieving a military solution to the conflict, is responsible for the dramatic worsening of the humanitarian situation in Syria. "The brunt of the suffering will yet again be borne by the civilian population of Syria," said Steffen Seibert.
"Because of its massive interventions on behalf of the Syrian regime, we believe Russia shares the blame, also for the continuing serious violations of international law committed by Syria and its other allies," he said. Without the massive military support of Russia, the regime would not be able to continue its war against sections of its own people on this scale.
Call launched at the six leaders’ meeting
At the six leaders’ meeting in Berlin last Friday, (18 November), Chancellor Angela Merkel, American President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain once again called on the Syrian and Russian governments to suspend the attacks immediately and make possible deliveries of humanitarian supplies to the people in eastern Aleppo.
Since the beginning of July, no convoys have been able to reach the eastern part of Aleppo which is besieged by the Syrian regime and its allies. Some 270,000 civilians are thought to have no adequate access to food, safe drinking water and medical supplies.
"We thus reiterate that all options must remain on the table in order to bring the regime and its allies in Russia and Iran to abandon their inhuman and brutal military strategy," said the government spokesperson.