Obama administration on defense over fall of Aleppo

The Obama administration is finding itself back on the defensive over its Syria policy as Aleppo falls to Bashar Assad’s government and civilians are evacuated, an operation preceded by desperate pleas from the city’s battered residents and reports of atrocities against them.

Ambulances reportedly were carrying out the first groups of wounded and other residents on Thursday, under a cease-fire deal that would seal a rebel pullout from what had been their stronghold in the eastern part of the city.

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Thursday he was “encouraged” by the cease-fire arrangements as well as the start of convoys moving out of the city.

But he also cited a report that a convoy of injured people were fired upon, and reports that Syrian men are being detained or conscripted at checkpoints. He condemned “inexcusable attacks” on civilians and humanitarian personnel, calling for an “immediate and verifiable, durable cessation of hostilities.”

“We’re going to continue to do our part” to push all parties toward “resolution,” Kerry said.


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