UN General Assembly
UN General AssemblyReuters

A war of words between Syria and Russia and the West has escalated following raids by Russian warplanes and regime aircraft on rebel-held Aleppo.

Some key quotes:

'Crocodile tears'

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem at the UN General Assembly on Saturday accused "some countries of crying crocodile tears on the situation of Syrians in some areas...while continuing to support and arm terrorists".

'War crimes' and 'barbarism'

- "What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism. It is barbarism," US Ambassador Samantha Power told the United Nations Security Council on Sunday.

- "Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse in Syria, they have," British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the UN session. "It is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes,".

- "War crimes are being committed here in Aleppo," echoed French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, also at the UN. "They must not be unpunished and impunity is simply not an option in Syria."

- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on world powers to "work harder for an end to the nightmare" in Syria.

Russian riposte

- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that Russia denounced "the overall unacceptable tone and rhetoric of the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States, which can damage and harm our relations".

Risk of worse to come

- UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Sunday a "tiny window of opportunity ... still exists" for Russia and the United States to help Syria.

He appealed for renewed efforts to allow Syria to "step away from the brink of more years of bloody conflict which risks becoming even worse."