Putin Syria war crimes calls are `political rhetoric’

The Russian president has fired back after France called for a war crimes investigation into bombardments in Aleppo

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Putin says premature to say if he will run again for presidency in 2018 -Bloomberg

(Sputnik News)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed suggestions for investigating his country over potential war crimes in Syria as “political rhetoric’’.

Diplomatic tensions rose between France and Russia over Syria’s conflict, with Putin postponing a scheduled trip to Paris after France called for a war crimes investigation into bombardments in Syria’s divided city of Aleppo.

Putin called the suggestions in an interview on Thursday a “political rhetoric that does not have great significance and does not take into account the real situation in Syria’’.

He added that Russia’s aim was to combat terrorism and pointed to U.S. forces hitting a hospital during an airstrike in Afghanistan as an example of collateral damage.

“The sad reality is that wherever military operations take place, innocent people suffer and die.

“But we cannot allow terrorists to hide between civilians used as a human shield,’’ Putin said.

In September 2015, Russia started an air campaign in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The rebel-held section of Aleppo has been under intense air strikes by government forces and allied Russia since September when a U.S.-Russian-brokered truce collapsed in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that no fewer than seven civilians were killed in bombing by unidentified jets on opposition-controlled districts in eastern Aleppo

The watchdog also added that four children were killed in shelling by rebels on a regime-held neighbourhood in western Aleppo.

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