Michael Fallon Says Syria Could See 'The Next Sarajevo' If 'Lying' Russia Won't Stop Bombing Civilians

12/02/2016 21:25 | Updated 12 February 2016

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said Russia is "lying" when it claims it is not targeting civilians in Syria, warning that the bombarded city of Aleppo could become "the next Sarajevo”.

Fallon suggested that the situation in Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, could develop into that of the devastating 1990s siege in Sarajevo, when the city was surrounded by Bosnian Serb Army for almost four years.

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Fallon hit out at recent Russian claims that its airstrikes were only targeting ISIS, claiming the country was “lying”.

Aleppo will be the next Sarajevo

Aleppo will become the next Sarajevo if the Russians don't stop bombing bakeries, shops and mosques. That was the stark warning from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, February 12, 2016

“They're lying. We estimate that at least 70%, possibly more of their air strikes have been in areas where there is no Daesh at all, where the terrorists aren't.

"They've simply been targeting moderate opposition to the Assad regime and they've been killing hundreds of innocent civilians and there is mounting evidence that they are deliberately now targeting food shops, mosques, bakeries and driving the population out of its towns and villages north towards the Turkish border.

"Indeed, fuelling the refugee crisis."

He said unless Russia stops bombing civilian areas, Aleppo's fate could rival the crippling 1,425-day Sarajevo siege, which was was the longest ever of a capital city in modern warfare. From 1992 to 1996, it led to some 13,000 deaths in the Bosnia and Herzegovina city, and periods where residents were cut off from food, medicine and utilities.

sarajevo 1996

A boy playing on a tank in Sarajevo in 1996

"This is a very large city," Fallon said. "A population that's increasingly trapped there. That is being caught now between Russian airstrikes and the Assad regime and of course Daesh terrorism further north. So there is a humanitarian disaster now in the making.”

“Well we've had tentative agreement on a future partial ceasefire, which is very welcome but there's no reason why Russia shouldn't implement it immediately and stop the bombing particularly of innocent civilians and help lift the siege of Aleppo, which otherwise will be the next Sarajevo."

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