UK, US Military Leaders Ramp Up Condemnation of Assad

The military leaders of the US and United Kingdom are still pressing Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step aside, even as his military is completing a major victory over rebels in Aleppo. Assad’s regime, along with its Russian and Iranian backers, is guilty of “incredible brutality” in squashing rebel forces inside the besieged city of Aleppo, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at a meeting of counter-ISIS ministers on Thursday in London. The only way to end suffering in Syria is for Assad to step aside and bring about a political transition. “The standard of brutality employed … stands in stark contrast to the way we conduct ourselves in Iraq and Syria,” Carter said during a joint appearance with UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon. Carter’s statement comes as rebel fighters and citizens of eastern Aleppo flee the city under a ceasefire, as Syrian forces close in to completely retake the city. Even in the face of this victory by Assad, Fallon said there is no future for him in Syria. “Even if he defeats the opposition in Aleppo, there is no victory in bombing hospitals, and restricting humanitarian aid, and ending up in a country that you only control 40 percent of, and is half destroyed with millions dispersed and hundreds of thousands killed.”