Russia claims it would 'work on' UN Aleppo resolution

Russia claims it would 'work on' UN Aleppo resolution
3 min read
06 October, 2016
Moscow has expressed a willingness allow urgently needed aid to reach besieged East Aleppo, but Syrian activists are sceptical.
A scene of destruction in the East Aleppo district of Bustan al-Basha [AFP]

Russia has expressed a willingness to "work on" a French-drafted UN resolution seeking to gain access for aid convoys into rebel-held East Aleppo.

On Thursday - following a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in Moscow - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was "ready to work on this text".

The condition was that the French draft did not contradict either a US-Russian truce for Syria that collapsed in late September, or any other UN resolutions.

However, Lavrov also claimed that the international community had focused a narrow lense on the humanitarian suffering of people living in East Aleppo, and had overlooked the plights of those in the regime-controlled West.

For his part, Ayrault said that during meetings with Lavrov he had told the Russian foreign minister "face-to-face" that the situation in Aleppo had become "intolerable".

"What is happening in Aleppo is without precedent - nothing can justify such a deluge of fire and of death," Jean-Marc Ayrault said following the meeting on Thursday.

"No one can tolerate this situation."

According to UN estimates approximately 275,000 civilians live in East Aleppo which the group now admits is "under siege". 

Ayrault is set to travel to Washington on Friday as part of a desperate whistle-stop attempt to garner support for a UN truce resolution for Aleppo. This would allow humanitarian aid into the war-torn city.

Since the collapse of a US-Russian truce for Syria collapsed in September relations between Washington and Moscow have deteriorated rapidly.

On Monday, the US suspended ceasefire talks with Russia in protest over Moscow's ongoing involvement in airstrikes in East Aleppo that have seen hundreds of civilians killed.

What is happening in Aleppo is without precedent - nothing can justify such a deluge of fire and of death.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Foreign Minister

Speaking on Thursday, the UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that if airstrikes continued at their current pace then eastern Aleppo could be "completely destroyed" by the end of the year.

Speaking during a press conference in Geneva de Mistura further pleaded for the al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham rebel group - formerly known as al-Nusra Front - to leave the city in order to facilitate the transfer of aid to East Aleppo.

Both the Syrian regime and its Russian backers have pointed to the continued presence of Fatah al-Sham as justification for bombing campaigns over east Aleppo.

Residents and activists say the group's presence in the city is minimal, and Fatah al-Sham are being used to justify the regime's relentless bombing and siege of rebel areas.

The situation in East Aleppo now appears dire. De Mistura said that if the bombing continues, the eastern section of the city could be completely destroyed by the end of the year.