Our Opinion: Russia invites pariah status with bombings

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Isolating Russia because of its bombings of civilians in Syria is a good strategy. France has been so successful it managed to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin into staying put in Moscow.

The Russian tough guy cancelled an upcoming visit to France Tuesday a day after French President Francois Hollande suggested that Russia could face war crimes charges over its bombing of Aleppo. The French president's statement was echoed Tuesday by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who told Parliament he would like to see those responsible for bombing the Syrian city treated as war criminals. Mr. Johnson compared the destruction of Aleppo to the Nazi-led aerial assault on Guernica, Spain during the Spanish Civil War, a slaughter of innocents that inspired Picasso's famous oil painting named after the decimated city.

Russia claims it is fighting terrorists, an assertion backed at Sunday's debate by Putin apologist and wannabe Donald Trump, who claimed Russia was fighting ISIS in Syria. Those who, unlike the Republican standard-bearer, actually know what they are talking about — specifically U.S. and Western officials in the Middle East — say that Russia is attacking rebel groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, not ISIS. The heavy toll on civilians, including children, is well-documented.

The U.S. and its allies can do more to stop the Syrian and Russian atrocities by, for example, bombing Syrian runways and extending no-fly zones over the country. The war criminals may face justice someday, but the International Criminal Court takes its time. Russia is risking becoming an international pariah said Mr. Johnson, and Western nations shouldn't be reluctant to make it one unless it calls off its mass killings.


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