White House condemns deadly Syrian airstrikes

The White House on Monday criticized the Syrian government over a series of air raids that have left more than 300 dead, saying the Assad regime must do more to protect civilians.

"The United States condemns the ongoing air assault by Syrian government forces on civilians, including the indiscriminate use of SCUD missiles and barrel bombs in and around Aleppo over the last week," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

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The White House spokesman said that under international humanitarian law, Syria was obligated to protect civilians during the bloody civil war. 

He also said that under a deal brokered earlier this year — in which Syria agreed to turn over its chemical weapons in exchange for averting a U.S. military strike — the government had promised aid humanitarian efforts.

"The Syrian government must fulfill its November commitment to do more to facilitate the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, so that millions of Syrian men, women, and children have access to urgently needed services," Carney said.

The increased air attacks in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is seen as an effort by Assad loyalists to overwhelm rebel forces ahead of a January peace conference in Geneva. 

Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to participate in the talks, ahead of a conference intended to broker an end to the three-year conflict. Some nine million Syrians have fled their homes during the fighting, during which tens of thousands have died.