Call for Security Council meeting on Syria violence
THE UN Security Council will meet to discuss the escalating violence in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, diplomats said.
The meeting was requested by Britain, France and the United States after intense air strikes toppled buildings and killed at least 45 civilians in Aleppo on September 24, two days after the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the city.
UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon said he was appalled by the “chilling” upsurge in fighting in Aleppo, and warned the use of advanced weaponry could amount to war crimes.
Mr Ban cited reports of air strikes involving the use of incendiary weapons, bunker-buster bombs and other powerful munitions in the offensive launched by the Syrian army to recapture the city.
He warned that “the systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.”
A week-long ceasefire agreed between the United States and Russia ended on Sept 19 and efforts to revive the truce failed.
Meanwhile in Washington, the US and its European allies said that it was up to Russia to bring about a truce in its ally Syria through “extraordinary steps”.
The allies pressed Moscow to allow unfettered humanitarian assistance, halt the Syrian regime’s “indiscriminate” bombing of its own people and create the conditions necessary to resume political transition talks led by the United Nations.
“The burden is on Russia to prove it is willing and able to take extraordinary steps to salvage diplomatic efforts,” read a joint statement that included the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and the European Union’s top diplomat.
“Patience with Russia’s continued inability or unwillingness to adhere to its commitments is not unlimited,” the diplomats said.
“The outrageous bombing of a humanitarian convoy, the Syrian regime’s public denunciation of the CoH, continuing reports that the regime is using chemical weapons, and the unacceptable ongoing regime offensive on eastern Aleppo, supported by Russia, blatantly contradicts Russia’s claim that it supports a diplomatic resolution.”
The allies reaffirmed their commitment to destroying the Islamic State group and urged Russia to focus on the jihadists as well.
They called on Russia to “restore the credibility of our efforts, including by halting the indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian regime of its own people”.
They also demanded “immediate, expanded” humanitarian access to all parts of Syria, deploring delays and obstruction caused primarily by the Syrian regime. –
Boris Johnson, UK foreign secretary, and US Secretary of State John Kerry attend a Security Council meeting in New York on September 21.