UN votes overwhelmingly to demand 'immediate ceasefire' in Aleppo

UN votes overwhelmingly to demand 'immediate ceasefire' in Aleppo
The UN General Assembly voted to pass a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria and urgent delivery of life-saving aid.
2 min read
09 December, 2016
The UN has voted in favour of a resolution to end the fighting [Getty]

The UN general assembly voted on Friday to demand an immediate ceasefire in Syria and allow the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid.

The resolution - drafted by Canada in an attempt to break the deadlock over Syria at the Security Council - won strong support, passing by a vote of 122 to 13 in the 193-nation assembly, with 36 abstentions.

The adoption of the non-binding text demands a "complete end to all attacks on civilians" and the lifting of all sieges.

The vote was expected to "demonstrate that there is a moral majority" of countries that are "distressed that through a series of vetoes, the Security Council has failed to provide the unity necessary to change the situation in Syria".

Russia dismissed the resolution ahead of the vote, saying it would have no impact on the ground.

"To expect that it's going to produce some kind of dramatic U-turn in the situation in Syria is unrealistic," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura briefed the Security Council on Thursday ahead of talks in Geneva on Saturday between the US and Russia on a possible deal that would allow civilians and rebel fighters to leave Aleppo.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre expressed support for the Canada-led push for a ceasefire, saying "it is never too late to save lives, to assist populations in need, and to lay the groundwork for a political solution in Syria".

"The fall of Aleppo will not resolve the crisis in Syria," he added.

Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with widespread demonstrations but has since turned into a brutal multi-front war drawing in world powers.

Many Western countries cut ties with Damascus in 2011 and some imposed crippling economic sanctions on the Syrian regime.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began, and over half the population has been displaced, with millions becoming refugees.