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Rival resolutions to 'save Aleppo' defeated at UN

Russia vetoed a resolution which called for the aerial bombardment of Aleppo to stop

Date of publication: 8 October, 2016

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Russia has vetoed a UN draft resolution to stop the bombing of Syria's war-battered city, while Security Council members vetoed a ceasefire proposal from Moscow
Russia has rejected a UN resolution to ground warplanes and bombing over Aleppo - and had its own ceasefire proposal thrown out.

The draft text presented by France demanded "immediate action" to save the war-battered Syrian city, subjected to relentless attacks by Moscow-backed regime jets.

The vote on Saturday was the fifth time Russia has used its veto to block UN action to stop the civil war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.

"Thanks to your actions today, Syrians will continue to lose their lives in Aleppo and beyond to Russian and Syrian bombing," said British ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft, addressing Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin, currently presiding over the security council.

"One of us, perversely the president of council, is determined for the killing to continue, and is helping carry it out," United States deputy ambassador David Pressman added.

The French resolution demanded a halt to the aerial bombardment of rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 275,000 people are living under siege.

It also called for a resumed ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The presence of roughly 1,000 Nusra fighters was being used as a pretext for the bombing of tens of thousands of civilians, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura previously told the Security Council, and had offered to personally escort the militant group out of the city.

Russia said the resolution "distorted" the situation in Syria and a ban on air strikes would "provide cover to terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra" and allied militants.

Venezuela also vetoed the resolution, with Angola and China abstaining from the vote, further isolating Russia.

A counter-resolution from Moscow which made no mention of stopping the aerial bombardment was voted down.

Egypt was among three countries who backed the Russian proposal, drawing criticism from Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia.

Rycroft called the vote "a double humiliation" for Moscow.

European countries and the US are gearing toward a tougher line on Russia over its actions in Syria and have suggested that sanctions could be imposed.

The US on Friday called for Russia and Syria to be investigated for war crimes for the bombing of hospitals.

Now in its sixth year, the war in Syria has raged on as the Security Council has been divided between Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad, and western powers supporting opposition rebels.

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