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The New Arab

Syrian opposition calls on UN to condemn Russian aggression

Russia began a bombing campaign in Syria last year to back the Assad regime [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 February, 2016

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The UN must condemn Russia's "barbaric onslaught" on Aleppo and end its "aggression", which has led to the breakdown of peace talks, the Syrian National Coalition has said.
The Syrian National Coalition [SNC] has called on the UN to denounce Russian military intervention in Syria, which has recently witnessed a large escalation of Russian air raids against rebel-held areas.

The coalition of moderate opposition groups said the Russian-backed Assad regime had carried out "war crimes" in rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the country's largest city and one-time commercial centre.

"The countryside north of Aleppo has witnessed inhumane war crimes, mass killings and displacement of people because of the barbaric onslaught being carried out by the Assad regime backed by Russia, Iran and foreign militias," the statement read.

"Russian intervention has killed and displaced more people to prop-up the Assad regime. Russia has taken advantage of the [Geneva] political process to cover up these crimes, raising questions about the suspicious silence from the international community and the friends of the Syrian people," it added.

The SNC called on the UN to condemn Russian "aggression" against Syria and to take measures to put an end to the ongoing assault in Aleppo.

UN-led efforts to launch indirect peace talks between the Syrian government and an opposition delegation in Geneva collapsed earlier this week.

Russia has taken advantage of the [Geneva] political process to cover up these crimes - SNC


The talks broke down in large part because of Syrian government offensives, including on the outskirts of Aleppo.

The offensive, aimed at encircling rebel strongholds in Aleppo, was backed by intense Russian air raids and sent tens of thousands of area residents fleeing toward a closed Turkish border.

Opposition representatives have said they cannot be expected to negotiate in Geneva at a time when the Syrian government and its allies, including Russia, are escalating attacks on rebel strongholds.

Russia began a bombing campaign in Syria last year to bolster those fighting for its longstanding ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian opposition groups have accused Moscow of mainly targeting moderate rebels fighting the Assad regime as well as inflicting civilian casualties, a view shared by Western governments.

"Since the Russian bombing campaign began, thousands of civilians have been killed, including children. They claim they have helped recapture parts of Idlib, Latakia and Aleppo from IS, but IS was not in these areas except for in a few villages," Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told The New Arab.

Around 260,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March 2011. More than 50 percent of Syria's population is displaced, while 13.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria.

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