Nearly 500 dead, food running out in Aleppo: UN
The Russian and Syrian bombing raids in Aleppo have had horrific results with nearly 500 dead, while food rations are expected to run out by the end of the month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. The air strikes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo since the Syrian government offensive was launched on September 22 have been the most intense of the five-year war, Ban told a special meeting of the General Assembly on Thursday. “The results have been horrific”, he said.
Nearly 500 people have been killed and 2,000 injured. More than a quarter of all deaths are children. No UN aid convoy has entered Aleppo since July 7 and food rations will run out by the end of October, Ban warned, saying hunger was being used as a weapon of war.
The meeting at the General Assembly was called by 72 countries, led by Canada, to try to break the deadlock after the Security Council failed to take action to end the bombings and revive peace efforts.
Two resolutions were defeated during a stormy council session earlier this month, one of which was vetoed by Russia, which is backing the Syrian regime in its war against opposition fighters and jihadists.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he was “puzzled” by the statements at the meeting because they failed to mention the urgent need to combat terrorism in Syria.
Churkin said Ban and others had not pronounced “a single word to talk about terrorist organizations, as if the disaster in Syria was like the hurricane that hit Haiti.”
Russia has long maintained that it is supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in a war against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, both designated as terror organizations by the United Nations.
US Ambassador Samantha Power said, “Let us be real: terrorists are not the ones dropping bunker-busting bombs on hospitals and civilian homes in eastern Aleppo, nor are they besieging civilians there. The Assad regime and Russia are.”