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Berlin does not rule out Russia sanctions over Syria

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Berlin does not rule out Russia sanctions over Syria
Destruction in Aleppo. Photo: EPA.
16:17 CEST+02:00
The German government on Friday said it would not rule out backing possible sanctions against Russia over its aerial bombardment of Aleppo, as the United States mulled new embargo against the Syrian regime.

"We understand that all options must be considered," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert when asked if the West could be considering imposing sanctions on Russia over its support for President Bashar al-Assad's brutal onslaught on Aleppo.

"But in the end, what's important is that we give a chance to peace" in Syria, added Seibert.

With diplomacy failing to bring an end to the five-year conflict, US President Barack Obama is considering fresh sanctions against the Assad regime that could also target its Russian backers, diplomatic sources said in Washington.

A strategy is still being thrashed out, but initial efforts could focus on passing UN sanctions against those implicated in chemical weapons attacks.

A UN-backed panel is expected in the next few weeks to present new findings about deadly chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015.

The panel - formed by the United Nations and the independent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons - has already pinned the blame for at least two chemical attacks on the Syrian air force.

Later on Friday, the UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting at the request of permanent member Russia, to receive a briefing from peace envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Chancellor Angela Merkel again urged Russia to put pressure on the Syrian regime to grant access to civilians in Aleppo.

"I can only call on Russia, which has a lot of influence on Assad, to end this horrible crime as soon as possible," she said Friday on the sidelines of a party meeting.

"What is happening there is horrible, everything must be done to bring about a ceasefire," she added.

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