UN measure on Aleppo truce will not work Says Russia

United Nations, United States –

Russia on Monday dismissed a French-drafted UN resolution aimed at imposing a ceasefire in Aleppo as having “no chance of working,” insisting the priority should be fighting jihadists in Syria.

The UN Security Council was holding negotiations over the draft text that calls for ending all military flights over Aleppo, allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered and setting up a monitoring mechanism for the ceasefire.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told a news conference that some council members were unenthusiastic about the proposed resolution presented late Sunday.

“I’m not even sure many other council members would like to see a resolution on cessation of hostilities which has no chance of working,” he said.

“If the only effect of that resolution is that the secretary general will start thinking of some monitoring mechanism which is not going to work in the first place, then there is not much sense in having that resolution.”

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France’s proposal was the latest bid to pile pressure on Russia and its Syrian ally to halt the air campaign in Aleppo and chart a path toward ending the five-year war.

In the draft resolution obtained by AFP, the Security Council expresses “outrage over the unacceptable and escalating level of violence,” calling on all parties to “ensure full implementation of the cessation of hostilities… including an end to all aerial bombardments.”

The measure urges Russia and the United States to “ensure the immediate implementation of the cessation of hostilities, starting with Aleppo, and to that effect, to put an end to all military flights over the city.”

It calls on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to present options within five days of the adoption to set up a mechanism monitoring the ceasefire.

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Under the draft text, the council would threaten to take “further measures” if the sides failed to comply, but it does not invoke the UN charter’s chapter 7, which allows for sanctions and the use of military force.

Aleppo has been under a near-daily barrage of air strikes since the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the city on September 22.

Diplomats said a vote at the council could take place this week.

– Black flags –

Churkin declined to say whether Russia would veto the measure, but repeated that grounding planes would constitute a unilateral measure Moscow could not accept.

“Stronger concerted action against terrorists” would be a better way to address the crisis in Syria, the ambassador said, defending Moscow’s involvement in the military campaign.

“Had it not been for our involvement in Syria, it might well be that the black flags would be flying over Damascus,” he said, referring to the flag of the Islamic State group.

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French Ambassador Francois Delattre said “it’s our responsibility to do everything humanly possible” to try to unite the council behind an effort “to end the martyrdom of Aleppo.”

France distributed the text to the council’s 10 non-permanent members following talks on Friday with Russia, the United States, Britain and China, the four other veto-wielding members.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said London backs the French proposal, but that it would not end the war.

“What will end the war is not another piece of paper,” he said.

Syria’s conflict has killed 300,000 people and driven 12 million people from their homes — half of the country’s population.