US: Assad a 'magnet for terrorism' who starves his own people

2016-02-02 21:30
Syrian President Bassar Assad. (Vahid Salemi, AP)

Syrian President Bassar Assad. (Vahid Salemi, AP)

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Rome - Syrian President Bashar Assad is a brutal dictator who is a "magnet for terrorism" and uses "starvation as an instrument of war”, US Secretary of State John Kerry charged on Tuesday.

Kerry said people in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya have been "described by eye witnesses as walking skeletons: People we haven't seen walking around in that condition since the concentration camps were liberated after WWII."

Speaking after a meeting of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, Kerry said the Syrian regime allowed only 13 out of 113 UN requests for humanitarian aid delivery since the start of 2015, and was "using starvation as an instrument of war."

He acknowledged that the international community remains divided on whether the Syrian president should be allowed to stay in power after a peace deal, but added: "Assad remains a magnet for terrorism."

He said fighting was taking place because Assad had ignored the demands of the Syrian people and met their concerns with thugs, guns and bullets.

Kerry also said he expected Russia and Iran to aid in efforts to implement a ceasefire at peace talks under way in Geneva.

Read more on:    bashaar assad  |  john kerry  |  syria  |  us

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