Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, indicated that he really was not aware of Aleppo, which has been widely covered during the years that Syria has been engulfed in civil war. The surprising lack of foreign-policy knowledge could rock his insurgent candidacy.

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Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge Thursday that could rock his insurgent candidacy when he could not answer a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria.

“What is Aleppo?” Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the Syrian city that is the de facto capital of the Islamic State.

When pressed as to whether he was serious, Johnson indicated that he really was not aware of the city, which has been widely covered during the years that Syria has been engulfed in civil war. After Mike Barnicle, an MSNBC commentator who is often part of the “Morning Joe” program panel, explained that Aleppo was the center of Syria’s refugee crisis, Johnson struggled to recover.

“OK, got it,” he said, explaining that he thinks that the United States must partner with Russia to diplomatically improve the situation there. “With regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess.”

The stumble could be a serious blow to Johnson’s campaign, just as he is making a final push to improve his standing in the polls. His support needs to reach 15 percent in a series of major national polls to be included in the presidential debates.

Johnson’s support has been hovering around 10 percent. He and his running mate, former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts, have been aggressively making the case that they represent a viable alternative for voters who are not happy with the major party nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Johnson and Weld are both former two-term Republican governors who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

Some leading Republicans who oppose Trump have said openly that they are giving the Libertarian ticket a serious look. On Wednesday night, Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, publicly called for Johnson and Weld to be included in the presidential debates.

The stumble was widely mocked on social media, and on Twitter the question “What is Aleppo?” was trending.

Johnson expressed disappointment about the lapse in a brief follow-up interview that was broadcast on MSNBC.

“I’m incredibly frustrated with myself,” he said.