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The State Department declared Russian and Syrian unwillingness to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians afflicted by the country’s civil war “an abomination” in the wake of escalated attacks on hospitals last week.

“It’s an abomination that no aid has gotten into Aleppo now for well over a month, I think, was the last time, while shelling and bombing not only continues but seems to be intensifying,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday.

Aleppo is a crucial city in northern Syria, held partly by U.S.-backed forces opposed to dictator Bashar Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to broker a cease-fire that would allow humanitarian aid to reach those rebels in exchange for other diplomatic concessions to Russia, but the deal broke down.

The humanitarian situation worsened over the last week, as a series of bombardments by pro-regime forces destroyed all the remaining hospitals in the region.



Kerry has tried to renew the cease-fire agreement, and international negotiators are meeting in Geneva to discuss such a pact. But those talks haven’t deterred what the State Department acknowledged is an “intensifying” spate of bombing runs on civilians. “If there wasn’t any hope or expectation that we could get there, we wouldn’t still be at it,” Kirby said.

At other points in the briefing, however, he seemed to acknowledge that Kerry had no alternative plan for resolving the crisis before leaving office.

“That is exactly what we’ll be focused on for the remainder of, certainly for the remainder of the secretary’s tenure here at the State Department because we still believe that that’s the right way forward. We still believe there’s not going to be anything better than a political solution to the conflict in Syria,” Kirby said.

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