Both Russia and France presented a draft on a ceasefire in Aleppo in the highest UN body. Neither has been adopted.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Aryault at the UN Security Council in New York on Saturday Photo: reuters
Two draft resolutions for a ceasefire in the Syrian city of Aleppo have failed in the United Nations’ highest body. First, Russia vetoed a draft resolution submitted by France in the UN Security Council on Saturday calling for an immediate end to airstrikes on Aleppo. Shortly thereafter, Russia’s counter-proposal, which did not explicitly mention the airstrikes, was rejected.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault appealed before the vote in New York for the Security Council to "demand immediate action to save Aleppo." Addressing Moscow, he said any country that rejects the French proposal gives Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad "the opportunity to kill even more." French President Francois Hollande, speaking in Tulle, France, said a country that vetoes the resolution "discredits itself in the eyes of the world."
Besides Russia, Venezuela voted against the French draft, while China and Angola abstained. It was the fifth time that Moscow used its veto power in the Security Council in connection with the Syrian conflict, which has already killed more than 300,000 people.
Russia’s draft resolution, which calls for an end to the fighting, particularly in Aleppo, without explicitly mentioning an end to the bombing of Aleppo, was rejected by nine of the 15 Security Council members. It was supported by Russia, Venezuela, Egypt, and China; Angola and Uruguay abstained.
Russia has been supporting Syrian government forces, primarily with airstrikes, in their fight against the rebels who control eastern Aleppo. In protest against the increasing attacks, including on civilian targets, the U.S. had on Monday declared an end to its talks with Russia on a ceasefire in Aleppo.
Syrian government forces, meanwhile, continued their offensive on insurgent-controlled parts of the besieged city of Aleppo. Government forces were advancing in the Bustan al-Basha district and had taken the Uwaijah district, and there was also fighting in the Sheikh Said district, said the head of the Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman.
The Observatory’s claims, based on staff on the ground, are difficult to verify independently. A reporter for the AFP news agency reported from eastern Aleppo that fighting and airstrikes had continued through the night.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) warned that the current situation was "more dangerous" than during the Cold War. "The fuel for conflict between Russia and the United States is growing," Steinmeier told Saturday’s Bild newspaper. "The new times are different, are more dangerous. The world used to be divided in two, but Moscow and Washington knew their red lines and respected them."
Since the failure of a U.S.-Russia-brokered ceasefire on Sept. 19, at least 290 civilians have been killed in eastern Aleppo, including 57 children, according to the Observatory. Rebel attacks on the government-controlled western part of the city killed 50 civilians, including nine children, according to the report.