Moscow and Beijing block UN resolution for a ceasefire in Aleppo
According to Russia the document violates one of the rules of the Security Council. US response, " prepackaged excuse". The humanitarian situation in opposition controlled areas dire. Rebels say any evacuation offer "unacceptable". The US Congress vote to provide the anti-Assad front anti-aircraft missiles.
Aleppo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Moscow and Beijing have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a seven day ceasefire in Aleppo, where a raging battle between the government and rebel opposition threatens to turn the city into a "giant graveyard." According to Russia the document violates one of the Security Council rules, giving at least 24 hours to each member country in order to analyze the content and come to a final decision.
The US replied that these claims are a "prepackaged excuse" to maintain military conquests of recent weeks; and, in the near future, facilitate the return of the whole city to government control, which could happen within a few weeks.
Local sources said that the loyalist soldiers have captured about 70% of the areas so far in hands to the rebels. There are about 100 thousand people under siege in the districts still controlled by rebel militias and jihadist groups. The humanitarian situation is becoming more critical; lack of food, basic necessities, there is almost no relief supplies and no hospitals or clinics working to ensure medical care.
Before the war, Aleppo was the second most important city of Syria, as well as its main economic and commercial engine. Since 2012 it is divided into two sectors: the western, home to 1.2 million people, under the control of the government; the east, about 250 thousand people, in the hands of rebel groups and jihadist groups.
The resolution adopted yesterday by the Security Council - and rejected by Russia and China, both with vetos - was presented by Egypt, New Zealand and Spain. Venezuela has also voted against it, while Angola abstained. 11 Member States voted in favor.
This memorandum called for the temporary suspension of the bombing, to allow the entry of aid to Aleppo east. According to Moscow a suspension will be possible only after a summit between Russian and US military experts, scheduled for today or tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland. Moreover, the Kremlin does not want to give the rebels time to regroup - and rearm - after recent heavy military defeats.
Rebel groups and militias in Aleppo east once again reject the proposed "safe retreat" from Aleppo. Yasser al-Youssef, a leader of al-Zangi Nureddine faction, called the plan "unacceptable". He added that "the Russians are the ones who have to leave."
The loss of the northern metropolis would be the most important defeat for the rebels since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011. Sources for the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an add that since the beginning of the offensive 324 people have died, including 44 children.
Finally, a few days ago the US Congress granted - for the first time explicitly – the green light to the sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Syrian rebels. The vote was pushed through to force the incoming Trump administration, to continue support for anti-Assad militias and further undermine relations with Russia, which the future tenant of the White House intended to revitalize. And to turn the conflict into an open confrontation between the two superpowers.