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The Obama administration said Monday the situation in war-torn Aleppo is unlikely to improve, just days after the Pentagon deployed approximately 200 more American troops to assist Kurdish and Arabic forces in Syria.

“We still are open to, and trying to find, a diplomatic resolution,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “But optimism is not high.

“The U.S. government continues to be deeply concerned about the situation in Aleppo and the violence there is only increasing,” Earnest said. “The risk facing innocent civilians has been grave for some time [and] continues to worsen.”

Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Ash Carter revealed that additional U.S. troops were being sent to Syria to place increased pressure on the Islamic State terror group in its main stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. The decision came after President Obama and five other foreign leaders tried unsuccessfully to negotiate an immediate cease-fire in Aleppo to reduce casualties and facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid.



“The goal was to try to end the bombing and the few innocent civilians that remain — try to get them out of harm’s way,” Earnest said. “Those were the goals all along and in the months and years that we’ve been negotiating to find a diplomatic solution, we’ve been rebuffed by the Syrians because with the backing of the Russians and Iranians they’ve continued to wage this war with virtual impunity.”

Earnest said the administration and its regional allies in the Middle East “continue to be interested in trying to find a diplomatic solution to the situation not just in Aleppo, but in Syria because we know there is not a military solution that can be imposed in this situation.”

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