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“What is Aleppo?” asks US presidential candidate Gary Johnson

Obsession
2016
Obsession
2016

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson blanked embarrassingly this morning, on a question of how he would respond to the current crisis in Syrian city Aleppo, as president.

Asked by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panelist Mike Barnicle, “What would you do about Aleppo?” Johnson responded, “About?”

Barnicle repeated, “Aleppo.”

“And what is Aleppo?” asked the former New Mexico governor.

“You’re kidding,” said Barnicle.

The largest city in Syria, Aleppo is currently at the heart of the country’s civil war and refugee crisis. It is where a small boy named Omran was famously photographed sitting shell-shocked in an ambulance, just last month. Since August, airstrikes by both Syrian and Russian planes on the city have intensified there, and this week, allegations emerged of the use of chemical weapons on Aleppo’s rebel-held neighborhoods.

“Okay, Got it, got it,” Johnson said when Barnicle explained what Aleppo was. “Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess.”

The right thing for US would be to “join hands with Russia,” he said, and diplomatically bring the civil war to an end.

“But when we’ve aligned ourselves with—when we have supported the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists, and then the fact that we’re also supporting the Kurds and this is, it’s just a mess,” said Johnson. “This is the result of regime change that we end up supporting and, inevitably, these regime changes have led to a less safe world.”

During his first run for presidency in 2012, Johnson won less than 1%of the popular vote, not crossing 3% in any state. But in recent weeks Johnson has campaigned vigorously and has found support amongst young people and independent voters. Johnson was favored by 10% of registered voters in a mid-August Pew poll.

Aleppo is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, and the next president of the United States will undoubtedly have to deal with a complex and difficult situation there, for years to come. No matter what happens on election day in November, Johnson’s not likely to forget that name anytime soon.

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