Amid the unprecedented military assault on eastern Aleppo (a city in Syria), where fireballs from incendiary bombs “light up the pitch darkness,” the United Nations (UN) had a special message for the Security Council.
Special Envoy for Syria appealed Sunday to the Security Council – particularly permanent members Russia and the United States – to rescue a recently collapsed cessation of hostilities, end the bloodshed, and speed aid into the iconic city where, overall, some two million people remain under a de facto siege.
“These are indeed chilling days for Syria and particularly, for the people of Aleppo, as last week was one of the worst in this six year of the conflict,” Staffan de Mistura told an emergency session of the Council called by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Reporting that Aleppo is being reduced to rubble in the face of a “remarkable new intensity – unprecedented in scale and type of bombing,” Mr. de Mistura said “this Council has the responsibility to relaunch the cessation of hostilities.”
He reiterated his appeal for a common course of action, led by Russia and the UN, in three areas: ensuring a ceasefire; establishing weekly 48 hour pauses in the fighting to allow in aid and repairs for Aleppo’s damaged water and power facilities; and allow medical evacuations for urgent cases in and around the city.
The respective taskforces on humanitarian aid delivery and a wider ceasefire, created by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), have been meeting separately since early this year on a way forward in the crisis.
Russia and the United States are the co-chairs of the taskforces and ISSG, which comprises the UN, the Arab League, the European Union and 16 other countries.