French foreign minister calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'

AFP , Sunday 23 Oct 2016

French Foreign Minister
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault shakes hands with a child during a visit to a refugee camp in the Kilis district of Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, on October 23, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

After arriving in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: "we're 150 km (93 miles) -- perhaps no further -- from Aleppo. And right now bombing, artillery continue to destroy this city and massacre the population."

For Syrian refugees to have the chance to return to their country, "we must do everything to stop this massacre" and resume negotiations to reach a political agreement.

"We cannot come to a negotiation under the bombs... The total war solution is not a solution," Ayrault added as the city was again hit by air strikes and heavy clashes overnight, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Ayrault said the urgency must be to stop the bombing and give access to humanitarian aid for the first time since July 7.

Outgoing UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said food rations will run out by the end of the month in Aleppo, where 500 people have been killed since the regime last month launched an operation to recapture eastern Aleppo.

Ayrault will visit a refugee camp in the region on Sunday and meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara the following day.

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