Britain and the United States said on Sunday they were considering imposing additional sanctions on Bashar al-Assad’s regime and his supporters for their actions in Syria against civilians, which mat be held as war crimes.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking after briefing allies in London on a new diplomatic initiative on Syria, also called on Russia and Iran to agree to a new ceasefire.
“There’s a lot of measures we’re proposing to do with extra sanctions on the Syrian regime and their supporters, measures to bring those responsible for war crimes to the International Criminal Court,” Johnson told reporters after talks he convened with his U.S counterpart and allies on Syria.
“These things will eventually come to bite the perpetrators of these crimes and they should think about it now,” said Johnson, adding there was no appetite in Europe for going to war in Syria.
He said it was “highly dubious” that Syrian government forces backed by Russia were capable of retaking the city of Aleppo or winning the war, and called on Russia and Iran to show leadership by agreeing to a ceasefire.
“It is up to them to show mercy, show mercy to those people in that city and get the ceasefire going,” he added.
Boris has previously said that his government considering to intervene militarily in Syria.
“It is right now that we should be looking again at the more kinetic options, the military options,” he said.
“We can’t do anything without a coalition, without doing it with the Americans. I think we’re still a pretty long day’s march from getting there but that doesn’t mean that discussions aren’t going on because they certainly are.”
Boris spoke alongside Kerry, who was previously in a meeting with involving Russia and a group of Middle Eastern nations aimed at ending the Syrian crisis. However, the meeting ended without achieving its goal.
Kerry confirmed the U.S. was considering additional sanctions over Syria, but did not name Russia as a target.
“We are considering additional sanctions and we are also making clear that President (Barack) Obama has not taken any options off the table at this point in time,” Kerry said.
Washington suspended bilateral discussions with Moscow over Syria following two attempts at implementing a ceasefire and growing tensions in their relationship.
The U.S. and its allies have urged Moscow to use its influence with the Syrian government to end the bombardment of Aleppo.
“There is some work to be done over the course of the next couple of days which might, or one might hope, open the door of possibility to an actual cessation,” Kerry said.
“It’s hard, and it’s hard because there are still deep beliefs in a lot of people that Russia is simply pursuing a Grozny solution in Aleppo and is not prepared to truly engage in any way.”
Russia launched an air campaign on September 30 last year in support of Syrian government forces, in a military intervention that has been widely credited with helping turn the balance of power in favour of President Bashar al-Assad.
Since then, at least 9,364 people have been killed in Russian raids, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The monitor said the death toll included about 3,800 civilians and 5,500 fighters from the Islamic State (ISIS).
A further 20,000 civilians have been wounded in Russia’s year-long offensive of air strikes.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes. Syria