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Syria peace 'now impossible': Security Council Aleppo session fails

The UN Security Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss Aleppo on Sunday [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2016

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An emergency session of the UN Security Council on Syria has ended with no action taken as Russia clashed openly with representatives from the United States, Britain and France.
An emergency session of the UN Security Council on Syria has ended with no action taken as Russia clashed openly with representatives from the United States, Britain and France.

All three Western powers heaped blame on Moscow on Sunday for supporting the offensive by its close ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has been the deadliest of the 5 1/2-year war. And when Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari was called to speak, all three ambassadors walked out of the council chamber in protest.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed Syria’s rebels for sabotaging the Sept. 9 cease-fire agreement by shoring up their forces. And he accused the Western coalition of failing to separate the moderate forces it backs from “terrorist” groups including the al-Qaida-linked Fatah Sham Front.

“Bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now,” Churkin said.

But he told the council that Russia still wants a ceasefire along with renewed negotiations between the Syrian parties.

France’s UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said immediate implementation of the ceasefire agreement, hammered out by the US and Russia, “is our only hope.”

The ambassadors of the United States, Britain and France walked out of the UN Security Council when Syria’s ambassador was called to speak at an emergency meeting they called for in order to demand a halt to the Syrian offensive in Aleppo.

The ambassadors of the United States, Britain and France walked out of the UN Security Council when Syria’s ambassador was called to speak

The walkout on Sunday by US envoy Samantha Power, Britain’s Matthew Rycroft and France’s Francois Delattre demonstrated Western anger and frustration at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s decision to try to take Aleppo after US-Russian talks failed to revive a ceasefire.

In separate speeches to the council before the walkout, the three countries accused Russia of backing the Syrian offensive while talking about a cessation of hostilities.

Power said the US knows “that Russia has consistently said one thing, and done the opposite.”

But she said the US also believes it must do “everything in our power to find a way to halt the violence” and will “continue to look for any way possible to restore the cessation of hostilities.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier said he was “appalled” by the current spike in violence around the contested Syrian city of Aleppo.

As an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council continued on Sunday, Ban said the city is facing “the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict.”

He focused in particular on reports of the use of so-called “bunker-busting bombs” that are designed to target underground structures.

Ban said: “Let us remember: the fighting has forced hospitals and schools to operate in basements. These bombs are not busting bunkers; they are demolishing ordinary people looking for any last refuge of safety.”

Ban urged all parties involved to “work harder for an end to the nightmare.”

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