‘Barbaric’: UN officials condemn Syria’s Aleppo bombardment
Top UN officials have separately described the Syrian regime’s brutal offensive against areas of the besieged northern city of Aleppo as “barbaric.”
Following the collapse of a short-lived, US-and Russia-brokered ceasefire, Syrian forces pounded rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 85 people and wounding more than 300 others, an activist group reported.
At a UN Security Council crisis meeting Sunday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “appalled” by the military escalation in the beleaguered Syrian city and that the use of bunker-busting bombs “brings the violence to new depths of barbarity.”
What happened to the ceasefire?
• Monday, September 12: The US-Russia brokered ceasefire starts at sunset
• Minor violations mar the ceasefire’s early hours.
• By Thursday, September 15, Russia, US are accusing each other of not fulfilling their obligations.
• On Friday, UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports civilian deaths from airstrikes in Idlib, then Sunday in Aleppo.
• On Saturday, the US conducts an airstrike which kills Syrian forces. The Pentagon says it was accidental, and US officials express regret. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations calls the strike “an extraordinary display of American heavy-handedness.”
• On Monday, September 19, a UN aid convoy’s attacked outside Aleppo. The US blames Russia. Russia says it was rebel forces. It all but ends hope of an extended ceasefire.
Ban added that the airstrikes, incendiary weapons and bombs in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that Russian support of Assad’s deadly offensive was “barbarism.”
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism, it is barbarism,” she told the Security Council.
“Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and Assad make war. Instead of helping get life-saving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive.”
Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura echoed Ban’s comments, calling the recent days “chilling.” He said the “past week has been one of the worst ones in Syria during the near six years of this devastating conflict.”
On Sunday, Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador to the UN, staged a walk out at an emergency session of the UN Security Council along with his French and US counterparts to protest against the Syrian regime’s latest offensive in Aleppo.
Rycroft told the security council meeting that it was “difficult to deny” that the Syrian regime of President Bashar al- Assad and his Russian allies were engaged in committing war crimes.
“After five years of conflict, you might think that the regime has had its fill of barbarity — that its sick bloodlust against its own people has finally run its course,” he said.
“But this weekend, the regime and Russia have instead plunged to new depths and unleashed a new hell on Aleppo.”
‘This isn’t Pompeii’
As Aleppo was hammered by airstrikes, activists and aid workers posted dozens of pictures and videos online. Each of them heartbreaking, each of them helping to convey horror of the besieged city.
On Friday afternoon, a photo of a father and son who had fallen victim to the war emerged. Covered in blood and dust, the pressure of the rubble holding their final postures in place.
“This isn’t Pompeii, this is Aleppo,” one social media user wrote.