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Warplanes hit Syria's Aleppo ahead of new diplomatic push

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The ultimate aim of any new action could be to bolster the battered moderate rebels so they can weather what is now widely seen as the inevitable fall of rebel-held eastern Aleppo to the forces of Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his country's civil war has turned into a new theater of conflict between Russian Federation and the West. "But Aleppo is going to be a very important springboard to do this move".

In a stern warning to the Assad regime and its Russian backers, the Foreign Secretary told MPs that "more kinetic options, military options" were being looked at in a bid to end the suffering of the people of Aleppo and elsewhere.

The U.S. State Department said Kerry had called for the meeting and would attend, but declined to say what foreign ministers other than Lavrov had been invited or would attend.

"Most people, I think, are now changing their minds about this and they are thinking "We can't let this go on forever, we can't just see Aleppo pulverised in this way, we have to do something", he said.

Aleppo has been the scene of fierce fighting between regime forces and rebels who have clung on in its besieged eastern portion.

Assad also said in the interview to the publication that the Syrian civil war had become a conflict between the West and Moscow.

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The siege has caused an global outcry with a number of countries and groups accusing Syria and Russian Federation of war crimes in connection with attacks on medical facilities and aid convoys.

Friday's planned meeting is the latest in a long series of internal debates about what, if anything, to do to end a 5-1/2 year civil war that has killed at least 300,000 people and displaced half the country's population.

France and the United States have already said the Aleppo offensive, which has included air strikes on hospitals, includes war crimes for which Syria and Russian Federation are responsible.

Sir John told BBC Radio 4: "We are moving into an era that is as risky, if not more unsafe, as the Cold War because we do not have that focus on a strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington".

The Observatory, a Britain-based war monitoring group, also said shelling on government-held parts of Aleppo had killed eight people on Wednesday, and 79 civilians had been killed in eastern Aleppo since Tuesday.

Meanwhile, European foreign ministers drafted a statement accusing Damascus and its ally Moscow of violence that could amount to war crimes.

"They have every incentive themselves to either put these people in the line of fire or even to launch weapons against them themselves and say look what the Syrian government is doing, look what the Russians are doing".

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