Security Council to meet amid condemnations of Aleppo offensive

Security Council to meet amid condemnations of Aleppo offensive
Britain, France and the US called for an emergency Security Council meeting Sunday as the UN and EU condemned the regime's escalation of violence against the city of Aleppo.
2 min read
25 September, 2016
Residents in rebel-held areas reported the heaviest bombardment since the start of the conflict [Anadolu]

The UN Security Council will meet Sunday to discuss the escalating violence in Syria's second city of Aleppo, amid international condemnation of the regime’s latest offensive on the city.

The meeting scheduled for 11:00 am (1500 GMT) was requested by Britain, France and the United States.

The US, EU and foreign ministers from a number of Washington's European allies said in a joint statement Saturday that it was up to Russia to bring about a truce in Syria.

"The burden is on Russia to prove it is willing and able to take extraordinary steps to salvage diplomatic efforts," said the group, which included the foreign ministers of France, Italy, Germany, Britain, the United States and the high representative of the European Union.

Intense airstrikes toppled buildings and killed at least 45 civilians in Aleppo on Saturday, two days after the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the city.

Top EU officials in a statement on Saturday said the attacks on civilians in Aleppo amount to a "breach of international humanitarian law".

"The indiscriminate suffering being caused among innocent civilians... is an unacceptable breach of international humanitarian law," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and humanitarian commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a statement.

They denounced the "fire-bombing and shelling" as well as the "deliberate targeting" of a humanitarian convoy last week and the "cutting off of water supplies to the majority of civilians still in the city."

UN officials say nearly two million civilians were left without water in the devastated northern city after regime bombardment damaged a pumping station and rebels shut down another in retaliation.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier said he was appalled by the "chilling" upsurge in fighting in Aleppo, and warned that the use of advanced weaponry in the battleground city could amount to war crimes.

Ban cited reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons, bunker buster bombs and other powerful munitions in the offensive launched by the Syrian army two days ago to recapture the city.

He warned that "the apparent systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes," a statement from his spokesman said.

A weeklong ceasefire agreed between the United States and Russia ended on Monday and efforts to revive the truce failed.

Agencies contributed to this report