Rus­sia un­der fire as air strikes pound Aleppo

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BRI­TAIN, France and the United States lashed out at Rus­sia over the wors­en­ing car­nage in Syria as Syr­ian and Rus­sian war­planes pounded Aleppo in one of the heav­i­est bomb­ing raids of the five-year war.

US Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power ac­cused Rus­sia of “bar­barism” dur­ing a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil emer­gency meet­ing on Septem­ber 25, called to de­mand that Moscow rein in its ally, Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad, and halt the in­tense air strikes.

“In­stead of pur­su­ing peace, Rus­sia and As­sad make war,” Ms Power said. “What Rus­sia is spon­sor­ing and do­ing is not counter-ter­ror­ism. It is bar­barism.”

At least 124 peo­ple, mostly civil­ians, have been killed in the bom­bard­ment of rebel-held east­ern Aleppo since the army on Septem­ber 22 an­nounced an oper­a­tion to take it, the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said.

“War crimes are be­ing com­mit­ted,” French Am­bas­sador Fran­cois De­lat­tre said, call­ing for ac­tion to en­sure the atroc­i­ties do not go un­pun­ished.

Bri­tain’s en­voy spoke of “a new hell” un­leashed on Syr­i­ans with bunker-bust­ing bombs and more so­phis­ti­cated weaponry used in air strikes pum­melling res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

“It is dif­fi­cult to deny that Rus­sia is part­ner­ing with the Syr­ian regime to carry out war crimes,” said Bri­tish Am­bas­sador Matthew Ry­croft.

UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon warned that the “chill­ing” es­ca­la­tion mak­ing use of ad­vanced weaponry against civil­ians could amount to war crimes.

Mr Ban called on world pow­ers to “work harder for an end to the night­mare” in Syria that has left more than 300,000 peo­ple dead and driven mil­lions from their homes.

To protest the at­tacks in Aleppo, the US, French and Bri­tish am­bas­sadors walked out of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil cham­ber as the Syr­ian am­bas­sador de­liv­ered his re­marks.

Rus­sia’s Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin con­ceded that the surge in vi­o­lence over the past days meant that “bring­ing a peace is al­most an im­pos­si­ble task now”, again lay­ing the blame for the failed diplo­macy with the United States.

Res­i­dents said clus­ter bombs rained down on parts of the city, where an es­ti­mated 250,000 peo­ple are liv­ing un­der a gov­ern­ment siege.

At least 19 chil­dren were among those killed in the as­sault, which has in­cluded mis­sile strikes, bar­rel bomb at­tacks and ar­tillery fire, the Syr­ian ob­ser­va­tory said.

Once Syria’s eco­nomic pow­er­house, Aleppo has been rav­aged by war and roughly di­vided since mid2012 be­tween gov­ern­ment con­trol in the west and rebel con­trol in the east.

Syria’s for­eign min­is­ter said that his gov­ern­ment was con­fi­dent of “vic­tory” with sup­port from “true friends” in­clud­ing Rus­sia, Iran and Lebanon’s Shi­ite mil­i­tant group Hezbol­lah. –

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