The White House admitted today that Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort “working doggedly even in the face of some very difficult challenges to try to bring the parties together to resolve that violence” in Syria has “not worked.”
Russia unleashed a blitz on the besieged city of Aleppo this week, while not striking ISIS-controlled areas of Syria.
On MSNBC this morning, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about Russia bombing a children’s hospital in Aleppo. Doctors told an NBC reporter that President Obama has done nothing to help them.
“What is true is that the tactics that had been used by the Assad regime and also have used by the Russians are disgraceful,” Earnest replied. “They are frankly targeting innocent civilians trying to bomb them into submission including by targeting hospitals and playgrounds and other locations that are frequented by innocent civilians including women and children. And it is an outrage.”
“And the moral outrage of the international community has been expressed loudly in opposition to this. The question really is what can the international community do, led by the United States, to try to bring that violence down? And try to make sure that innocent people are not caught in the crossfire?”
Earnest said that despite Kerry’s efforts “we have seen intransigents on the part of the Assad regime and the Russians to target innocent civilians and try to bomb them into submission to try to achieve some of their objectives on the ground that frankly detract from our ability to focus exclusively on the extremists that do threaten the United States and the broader Western world.”
Still, the spokesman said, a diplomatic solution “is our only path.”
“And we’ve been working doggedly to try to pursue this diplomatic option. It’s extraordinarily complicated. And we have worked successfully to build a strong international coalition that’s been focused on ISIL and protecting us from ISIL but also trying to resolve this diplomatic problem inside of Syria,” Earnest continued.
“Because of Russia’s intervention they’ve actually put that diplomatic option farther into the future. We’ve made the case that actually is contrary to Russia’s interests. Russia doesn’t benefit from chaos continuing inside of Syria. The only place in the world where they have a military outpost outside of the former Soviet bloc. But yet they are determined to prop up the Assad regime and they are obviously willing to engage into some — disgusting tactics to try to make that a reality.”
Earnest added that “at the end of the day, the role for the United States and the role that this commander-in-chief has played is to mobilize the international community, to go after ISIL, those extremists that would do us harm, and put a lot of diplomatic capital on the table to try to pursue a diplomatic solution to the violence inside of Syria.”
“We’ve made a lot of progress against ISIL,” he said. “We haven’t made nearly as much progress as we would like in pursuing that diplomatic solution.”