David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary, has spoken out about the situation in Syria, and criticised the failure of the West to make effective interventions in the bitter civil war that has crippled the country. Speaking of the current situation in Aleppo, Miliband described scenes of "sheer terror".
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Miliband, who is the president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, which still has aid workers in Syria, was scathing of many of the parties involved.
Describing the horrors faced by those in Syria's most populous city, he said civilians were subject to: "Bombardment, siege, and house-to-house militias who are taking vengeance on the population."
He added that as civilians attempted to flee, the fear centred on whether that terror would follow them across the country.
He said Syrians lived in "great fear that this becomes the tactic of choice across wider swathes of the country".
"People are fleeing from appalling bombardment, and house-to-house murder that's being documented by the UN," Miliband added, "and they don't know if it's going to follow them from Aleppo to Idlib."
Earlier this week, residents of Aleppo took to social media to describe the horror of their situation, as many are trapped, unable to leave the city or their homes due to the bombardment being carried out by the Russian-backed government loyalist military. However, it was announced by government and rebels on Saturday that a new deal had been brokered to allow the evacuation of civillians from the most affected areas of the city.
Miliband, who served as UK foreign secretary between 2007-2010 was scathing of the notion that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had "won" the battle for Aleppo.
"The truth is his [Assad's] country has been broken," he said. "Twelve per cent of the population [are] dead or wounded – no one can speak of victory in that situation."
However, he added: "President Assad has clearly survived and that was at issue about a year or a year and a half ago… The short-term battle for Aleppo has been won decisively in the government's direction.
"The big question is if vengeance is the chosen tactic going forward. We all know from history that when vengeance is the tactic, far from quashing [Islamist violence], it will fuel it."
Criticising the failure of British MPs to back UK intervention in 2013, Miliband said the former Chancellor George Osborne was right to speak of the "vacuum" caused by the inaction, and argued: "Means and ends have been divorced."
He said the failure to intervene was: "Not just a moral failure but a practical and political collective failure of monumental proportions… with very significant long-term consequences."
He warned: "What starts in the Middle East does not stop in the Middle East."