EU leaders agreed on Friday to look into all options against Syria and its allies, including Russia, should the atrocities in Aleppo continue, EU president Donald Tusk said.
After a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, Tusk said the EU "strongly condemns the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo" and called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities."
"The EU is considering all available options, should the current atrocities continue."
However, the leaders backed down from threatening sanctions against Syria and its allies, which had appeared in an earlier draft of the summit conclusions, at the demand of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, EU sources told AFP.
Renzi ordered that any mention of possible punitive measures against Moscow over the Syrian carnage be removed from the statement issued after the summit in Brussels.
"Those responsible for breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be held accountable," read draft summit conclusions.
Tusk said the leaders agreed to "keep the unity of the EU" on Russia during a broader discussion of their strategy after two years of tensions that began with the crisis in Ukraine.
They discussed issues of "airspace violations, dis-information campaigns, cyber attacks, interference in political processes in the Balkans and beyond."
"We have a sober assessment of the reality and no illusions. Increasing tensions with Russia is not our aim, we are simply reacting to steps taken by Russia," Tusk said.