Russia vetoes UN resolution to stop Aleppo bombings

The UN Security Council draft resolution demanded an immediate end to airstrikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city and called for a truce and humanitarian aid access throughout Syria.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Children peer from a partially destroyed home in Aleppo, Syria.

Russia on Saturday vetoed a UN draft resolution demanding an end to the bombing of Aleppo on Saturday, but its own rival measure on a truce in Syria's war-battered city was rejected.

The French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution that was vetoed by Russia demanded an immediate end to airstrikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city and called for a truce and humanitarian aid access throughout Syria.

In a message directed at Russia, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said any country that opposes the French measure will "give Bashar al-Assad the possibility of killing even more."

"What is at stake today is first and foremost the fate of Aleppo and its people," Ayrault told the council.

"But it's more than that, it's the hope of establishing at last an end to a conflict for which we are all, all of us, paying the catastrophic consequences."

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault speaks with media after voting on a draft resolution that demands an immediate end to air strikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city, at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, October 8, 2016

A rival Russian-drafted resolution that aimed to revive a failed September 9 US and Russia ceasefire deal on Syria did not garner the minimum nine votes.

As the council meeting got underway, the Syrian regime pressed its assault on rebel-held areas of Aleppo, where 125,000 people are living under siege and facing almost-daily heavy bombing.

Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian air power and Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi fighters on the ground, hold the upper hand around the key battleground of Aleppo, whose opposition-held eastern sector has been encircled for all but a short period since July.

The regime's bombardment of Aleppo since a ceasefire brokered by Washington and Moscow in September collapsed after a week has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and countries supporting the Syrian opposition.

France, which opposes Assad, demanded in its draft resolution an end to airstrikes and military flights over Aleppo city.

Russia has backed Assad with a year-long air campaign against the rebels.

French President Francois Hollande on Saturday had urged United Nations Security Council members not to use their veto against a resolution that calls for an end to bombardments of Aleppo.

Russia's draft, which does not include that demand, urges Moscow and Washington to revive the ceasefire deal.

Army Advancing

Regime forces and their allies, backed by air raids, took over an area on Aleppo's northern outskirts on Saturday along with southern parts of Hama province, state media and the Observatory said.

Regime forces and its allies recaptured several towns and villages from rebels in Hama's northern countryside, reversing recent insurgent gains in the area.

Russia's air power has been crucial for strengthening Assad's position in the past year, pounding rebels including foreign-backed factions.

Washington accuses Moscow and Damascus of war crimes for intentionally targeting civilians, aid deliveries and hospitals which have been hit particularly around Aleppo in recent weeks.

Moscow and Damascus say they are targeting terrorist groups.

The ceasefire deal brokered by Washington and Moscow in September was meant to pave the way for joint US-Russian targeting of extremists including al Qaeda and Daesh.

TRTWorld and agencies