''Although you may achieve tactical victories, over the long term the Assad regime cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy,'' says U.S. President Obama during a White House news conference. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama says the world is "united in horror at the savage assault by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo," during a news conference on Friday (December 16) before he departs to Hawaii on vacation. "Although you may achieve tactical victories, over the long term the Assad regime cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy," said Obama. The evacuation of the last opposition-held areas of the Syrian city of Aleppo was suspended on Friday after pro-government militias demanded that wounded people should also be brought out of two Shi'ite villages being besieged by rebel fighters. The second day of the operation to take fighters and civilians out of Aleppo's rebel enclave ground to a halt amid recriminations from all sides after a morning that had seen the pace of the operation pick up. Aleppo had been divided between government and rebel areas in the nearly six-year civil war, but a lightning advance by the Syrian army and its allies that began in mid-November deprived the insurgents of most of their territory in a matter of weeks. Russia said the Syrian army had established control over all districts of eastern Aleppo although government troops were suppressing isolated areas where rebel fighters continued to resist.