Bashar al-Assad .jpg
A handout picture made available by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on 01 July 2016 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking during an interview with the Australian SBS TV channel, in Damascus, Syria, 28 June 2016.
Photograph: EPA/SANA

The United States is accusing Russia and its ally, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, of conducting a "concerted campaign ... to bomb civilians into submission" in the war-torn country.

Josh Earnest, spokesman for US President Barack Obama, on Monday cited the latest reports of strikes on civilians, including water supplies in eastern Aleppo.

"The idea of weaponizing access to a clean water supply for civilians is beyond the pale," Earnest said. "People of good conscience around the world should speak up and are speaking up."

Fresh airstrikes took place overnight in eastern Aleppo, activists said earlier Monday, inflicting more fatalities as the Syrian government offensive to retake the rebel-held part of the city showed no signs of relenting.

The government's airstrikes have been strongly condemned by Western nations who have also been sharply critical of Russia. Moscow is carrying out its own aerial raids to back pro-government forces.

Yassen Abu Raed, an activist in eastern Aleppo, said at least 10 people, among them children, have been killed in the morning raids.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov complained about the "unacceptable" tone of "rhetoric" from British and US officials.

"We believe that such rhetoric can cause great harm to the settlement process and our bilateral relations," he said earlier, according to the TASS news agency.

Peskov was responding to comments Sunday at the United Nations by the US and British ambassadors.

Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador to the UN, had said in New York that Russian actions "have prolonged the conflict, prolonged the suffering." Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, had said that Russia and al-Assad were making war "instead of pursuing peace."

More than 237 people, including at least 38 children, have been killed in the week since a US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapsed and the Syrian government and its allies, including Moscow, resumed heavy airstrikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The raids are targeting every single neighbourhood in eastern Aleppo on Monday," activist Bahaa al Halabi told dpa. "The situation is catastrophic."

The raids appear aimed at weakening the rebels' positions and allowing pro-government forces to eventually stage a full scale ground assault on the eastern areas.

Earnest said that Obama is "deeply concerned" about the latest violence in Syria.

"The situation has been terrible, and the bloodshed sickening, but we've seen that over the weekend it just got worse," Earnest said.

Eastern Aleppo has been under siege since July and residents report declining supplies of basic goods, including food and medicine. Water supplies have also been badly damaged.

The high number of casualties, including many hundreds of injured people, have strained already depleted hospitals and makeshift medical centres, many of which have been bombed during the war.

Related stories

Latest news

Merkel calls for fewer EU regulations as nationalist sentiments grow

As voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany show increasing support for nationalist, euro-sceptic political movements ahead of this year's elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for limits on EU regulations.

French prosecutors transfer Fillon case to investigative judge

The French judiciary has opened a formal investigation in connection with presidential candidate Francois Fillon to examine whether the employment of his wife as a parliamentary employee was a sham, the country's financial prosecutors' office said Friday.

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

Major news organizations, which were Friday blocked by the White House from attending an informal press briefing, condemned the move just hours after President Donald Trump described parts of the media as "the enemy of the people."

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.