US President Barack Obama has asked his top aides to take steps to de-escalate the violence and push for humanitarian access in Aleppo, hours after the UN said pro-government forces have killed at least 82 civilians including women and children in the besieged Syrian city. “He directed his team to take all steps, in concert with allies and partners, to de-escalate the violence, push for humanitarian access, and for an opportunity for those trapped in the besieged city to be allowed a safe egress, if desired,” the White House said after Obama’s national security council meeting with his top aides on ISIS on Tuesday.
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Obama assembled his National Security Council for a periodic update on progress the US and “our 68-member Global Coalition have achieved toward degrading and destroying ISIS in both Iraq and Syria,” said the readout of the meeting. “As part of our effort to apply simultaneous pressure against the terrorist group, the President was briefed on the Iraqi-led campaign to liberate Mosul and the advancing efforts of our partners in Northern Syria to isolate Raqqa – just as the US Military has undertaken a series of strikes to remove key ISIL leaders and attack planners,” it said.
“The President also received an update on the unfolding human tragedy inside Aleppo and the terrible violence carried out by the Asad regime with the backing of Russia and Iran,” the White House said. The UN human rights office said it has received reports of “pro-government forces killing at least 82 civilians including 11 women and 13 children in four different neighbourhoods” in the former rebel stronghold of eastern Aleppo.