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UN council weighs measure to impose Syria ceasefire

Wounded Syrian children await to receive treatment at a hospital following a reported air strike on the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib on September 29, 2016.

Numerous doctors and nurses and medical facilities have been hit or targeted by missiles or air strikes since the start of the conflict in Syria in March 2011. / AFP PHOTO / Omar haj kadour
Wounded Syrian children await to receive treatment at a hospital following a reported air strike on the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib on September 29, 2016. Numerous doctors and nurses and medical facilities have been hit or targeted by missiles or air strikes since the start of the conflict in Syria in March 2011. / AFP PHOTO / Omar haj kadour

United Nations: The UN Security Council today was weighing a draft resolution aimed at imposing a ceasefire in Aleppo and halting all military flights over Syria’s war-battered city.

Russia however dismissed the measure as a political ploy.

The proposal drafted by France was the latest bid to pile pressure on Russia and its Syrian ally to halt the air campaign in Aleppo and chart a path towards 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” and calls on all parties to immediately implement a ceasefire, allow humanitarian aid and ground all warplanes over Aleppo.

The measure, co-sponsored by Spain, would call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present options within five days of the adoption to set up a monitoring mechanism of the ceasefire.

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.

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

The draft resolution 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.”

All parties must “implement and ensure full implementation of the cessation of hostilities… Including an end to all aerial bombardments,” according to the text.

Diplomats were holding negotiations on the text on Monday and a vote at the council could take place this week.

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

Russia, one of the council’s five veto-wielding members, said it had questions about the proposed resolution.

“We as a matter of principle do not support such politicized steps aimed at using the Security Council to apply more pressure to Syria and Russia,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies in Moscow.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that Moscow was studying the text and raised questions about the proposed monitoring mechanism of the ceasefire.

Churkin said there was already such a monitoring group set up in Geneva and asked: “Why not use that mechanism more actively?”

“We are considering” the draft resolution, he said.

PTI

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