Hollande, Merkel condemn Russia's bombardment of Syria's Aleppo, don't rule out sanctions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the leaders in a new push for peace in eastern Ukraine and for a "working meeting" afterwards on the war in Syria.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the leaders in a new push for peace in eastern Ukraine and for a "working meeting" afterwards on the war in Syria. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - The leaders of France and Germany lashed out on Thursday (Oct 20) at Russian President Vladimir Putin over Moscow's bombardment of Syria's Aleppo, with French President Francois Hollande calling it a war crime.

"What is happening in Aleppo is a war crime, one of the first demands is that the bombardments by the regime and its (Russian) backers must end," said Mr Hollande after the meeting in Berlin, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the air raids as "inhumane and cruel".

The leaders of France and Germany also warned on Thursday that they did not exclude imposing sanctions on Russia. "Everything that can constitute a threat can be useful," said Mr Hollande, in response to a question on possible sanctions hours ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, while Dr Merkel added that "we cannot remove this option".

However, Mr Putin appeared to be ready to extend a planned ceasefire in Aleppo, Mr Hollande said.

"We came out of the meeting with the impression that there could be an extension of the truce, but it's up to the Syrian regime and Russia to show it," he said at the press conference, held with Dr Merkel.