Russia Vetoes U.N. Security Council Resolution for Aleppo Ceasefire
New York City—Human Rights First today expressed concern over the failure of the United Nations Security Council to pass a ceasefire resolution for Aleppo, Syria, that would also allow for access to humanitarian supplies, medical personnel, and evacuation of the wounded. This vote is the sixth time Russia exercised its veto to prevent humanitarian access and protection of civilians in Syria. China and Venezuela also opposed the resolution.
“We are disappointed that the Security Council was unable to pass this crucial resolution to address the dire humanitarian situation in Aleppo. The U.S. government should not permit the Syrian government and its allies to be rewarded for their wholesale disregard of international law, and should continue to take steps to ensure that those responsible for mass atrocities will be held to account,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “We urge all parties to the Syria conflict, including Russia, Iran, the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for an end to indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, an end to the targeting of medical facilities, and for full access for humanitarian supplies and personnel to all parts of the country.”
Russia is now demanding the departure of all opposition forces from Aleppo, not just those forces allied with terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. Human Rights First notes that the gap between Russia and the eleven members of the Security Council that supported the resolution, including Britain, France and the United States appears to have widened.
Eastern Aleppo has been under heavy bombardment from Syrian and Russian forces for weeks, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths and the closing down of all hospitals in the rebel-held part of the city. The fighting around Aleppo will likely continue as opposition forces are unwilling to leave the civilian population at the mercy of the Assad regime, which is allied with Iranian backed-militias, Shi’a mercenaries from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
“The likely fall of Aleppo to government forces will not end the Syria conflict. It will not resolve the larger question of the situation of Syria’s disaffected Sunni majority and Iraq’s embittered Sunni minority. Facilitating Assad’s sectarian slaughter will only drive these communities and their global supporters into the arms of ISIS and its successors, and drive further sectarian polarization,” added Hicks. “The Trump Administration will inherit a worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria and an escalating sectarian conflict in many parts of the region that is fueling violent extremism and increasing the threat of terrorism.”