Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce has accused Russia of a “lack of humanity” in Syria, as the UN revealed that more than half of the nearly million people displaced in Idlib province by the escalating conflict are children.
She said the UN had been given “a very sobering and frightening humanitarian briefing” on the current civilian crisis in the nine-year civil war.
It says 900,000 people are in “grave danger” in Syria’s Idlib province, as freezing conditions add to the war-torn population’s woes. Around 60% of those who have fled the region are children.
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Ms Pierce, who has been critical of Russia’s conduct in the conflict, also accused Moscow of abusing the UN’s veto system to “protect” Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, who she said was “attacking his own people”.
She has called on Moscow and Damascus to end “indiscriminate and inhumane attacks” in northwest Syria that are killing and injuring innocent civilians.
The British diplomat said the UN was “very ready to do what we can to back a UN-led ceasefire” – “but Russia needs to agree” and to “persuade the Russians to let-up on the bombardment of Idlib”.
“The UN wants to act. And 13 members of the Security Council want to act. But we are stopped from acting because of Russia, supported by China,” she told Sky News.
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“That’s the main thing – to get the Russians to restrain the Syrians and stop aiding them in the bombings that they are doing, including the bombing of hospitals which is against the Geneva Convention.”
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She said the “absolute priority is a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible”.
“Russia and the Syria regime don’t really care what price has to be paid by civilians,” she said, accusing Assad of holding up medical supplies in order to regain control of rebel-strongholds across the country.
“If Assad can’t put right the problems that led to the crisis in 2011-2012 then Syria will never be stable, and the government of Syria will never be able to govern the whole of Syria.
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“So there are some very pressing, long-term questions to sort out as well as these immediate short-term needs,” added Ms Pierce, who is soon to take up her new role as the UK’s ambassador to the United States.
On Friday, Russia floated the possibility of a summit on Syria with France, Germany and Turkey, while Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan asked the French and German leaders to provide “concrete” support in helping to bring to an end the escalating crisis.
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Moscow and Ankara’s response followed calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
Source : Sky News