Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called the situation in Aleppo an atrocity, and said all trust has broken down between the US and Russia over Syria.
In an interview on the ABC's Insiders she implored the two powers to continue to talk, stressing that the indiscriminate bombings are killing thousands of civilians.
She said the Russian-backed Assad regime believes it can win militarily over the opposition groups backed by the U.S.. These rebel groups also believe they can defeat the Assad regime.
"It is a humanitarian disaster on an unprecedented scale. Nothing we've seen in our lifetime," she said.
"A ceasefire is absolutely central so that humanitarian relief can reach those in need. But we need to find a political solution to what is essentially a civil war and then, of course, ISIS is operating in the vacuum."
Bishop has also called for a Lockerbie style tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine.
She spoke fiercely about the incident that killed 38 Australians, vowing to prosecute those responsible for it.
"The joint investigation team has confirmed that it was shot down by a Russian missile that came in from Russia to eastern Ukraine, to the Russian-backed separatist area and that's where the plane was brought down," she told the ABC.
"The next step is to identify those responsible, the chain of command within the Russian military and all those who were involved in making the decision and actually operating that missile.
"That is under way and I expect that by the end of the year, maybe early next year, the list of those that we believe should be held accountable will be confirmed and then there must be a prosecution."
Bishop suggested a Lockerbie style prosecution may be appropriate for this case.
The 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that was blown up flying over Scotland involved an international tribunal -- where a special court was set up for the trial of the two Libyans charged over the incident.
"There can be a Lockerbie style prosecution, a tribunal that's set up by the international community or there can be domestic prosecutions in say the Netherlands," she said.
"As long as they had the powers of extradition and the like, a prosecution could be mounted successfully in a domestic jurisdiction.
"That would cover the interests of the 298 victims aboard that flight."Suggest a correction