Sunday, October 9, 2016

Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution to end Aleppo bombing

(WaPo) Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Saturday aimed at stopping the bombing in Aleppo as France warned that the city would be remembered as a place where civilians were “abandoned” to death.

It was the fifth time Moscow has used its veto in as many years as a deadlocked Security Council tries to end a war that has claimed almost half a million Syrian lives.

During that time, the warplanes of President Bashar al-Assad have focused their might on the rebel-held suburbs of eastern Aleppo. More than 377 civilians have been killed there since the Sept. 19 breakdown of a truce brokered by the United States and Russia.

Barrel bombs, artillery attacks and cluster munitions have also targeted doctors and first responders pulling survivors from the rubble.

(AP) The votes reflected the deep divisions in the U.N.'s most powerful body which is charged with ensuring international peace and security but has totally failed to take action to end the more than 5-year Syrian conflict which has killed over 300,000 people and displaced millions.

The French-backed resolution received 11 "yes" votes, two "no" votes from Russia and Venezuela, and abstentions from China and Angola. The Russian resolution received four "yes" votes, nine "no" votes, and two abstentions.

It was the fifth veto by Russia of a Western-backed resolution aimed at ending the Syrian conflict.

When Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari started speaking after the votes, a number of ambassadors walked out, including the representatives of Britain, France, Ukraine and the United States.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who addressed the session before the vote on the French resolution, warned that the continued bombing of Aleppo was killing civilians and destroying hospitals and schools — "and has nothing to do with combatting terrorism," as Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and its close ally Russia contend.

"It is the annihilation of Aleppo," he said, declaring that the continued bombing will leave the city in ruins, a place where citizens will be left to their "executioners."

He compared Aleppo's likely fate to Guernica during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Srebrenica during the Bosnian war and the Chechen capital Grozny which was pummeled by the Russian army in the mid-1990s.