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2017-04-20

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International

[ 2016-09-26 ]

A monitoring group has documented 124 deaths in rebel-held Aleppo since Thursday

Syria conflict: US and UK speeches 'unacceptable' - Russia
Russia has criticised the US and UK for using
"unacceptable" tone and rhetoric in speeches on
Syria at the UN, after being accused of
"barbarism".

On Sunday, US permanent representative Samantha
Power said Russian and Syrian forces were "laying
waste" to rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that such
language might damage efforts to end the five-year
civil war.

Activists meanwhile reported dozens of fresh air
strikes on Aleppo overnight.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at
least two civilians had been killed, while a
rescue worker accused the Syrian and Russian air
forces of using munitions containing phosphorus
and napalm, and cluster bombs.

At least 124 people are believed to have been
killed in rebel-held eastern Aleppo since last
week, when a truce brokered by the US and Russia
collapsed and the Syrian military announced the
start of an operation to take full control of the
city.

The US, UK and France, which back the opposition
to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, openly
accused Russia of lying about its involvement in
the assault on Aleppo at an emergency session of
the UN Security Council.

British permanent representative Matthew Rycroft
said Mr Assad's forces and Moscow had "plunged to
new depths and unleashed a new hell on Aleppo".

He alleged that they were committing war crimes
by using "bunker-busting bombs to destroy
underground shelters, dropping incendiary weapons
indiscriminately on civilian areas, and targeting
the city's water supplies.

Ms Power told the meeting: "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."

"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not
counterterrorism; it is barbarism," she added.

Pro-Kremlin media in Russia have been gripped by
the discussions on Syria at the UN Security
Council, but they offered little comment on the
accusations levelled against Moscow.

Instead, they dismissed the charges as
"groundless" and hailed the response of Russian
envoy Vitaly Churkin. "Both US and UK permanent
representatives were lavish in criticising Moscow
and Damascus, but received a firm response," said
Gazprom-owned NTV.

State-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta accused
the US and its allies of trying to "exert pressure
on Damascus and Moscow, while doing nothing to
meet their own obligations".

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed the
unravelling of the truce deal on the US, saying it
had failed to convince mainstream rebels to
distance themselves from "terrorist" groups,
especially the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fatah
al-Sham.

Mr Peskov also rejected the Western criticism at
a news conference on Monday.

"We note that the tone and rhetoric used by
official representatives from the UK and US is
generally unacceptable and it can seriously damage
the settlement process and our bilateral
relations, but in the interests of the higher
ideas of settlement we are minded to detach
ourselves from unnecessary emotion," he said.

The Kremlin spokesman acknowledged that the truce
deal had been "not very effective", but insisted
that Moscow "definitely remains hopeful, and most
importantly it retains the political will to apply
as much effort as possible to find a steady path
for political settlement in Syria".

But he also warned that "terrorists" had used the
truce to "regroup, replenish their arsenals and
obviously prepare for offensive actions".

Source - BBC



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