Merkel says situation in Aleppo is a ‘disgrace’ for West
ESSEN, GermanyIt is a “disgrace” that the international community has been unable to alleviate the suffering in Syria’s besieged city of Aleppo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Dec. 6, one day after Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a seven-day cease-fire in the city.
“Aleppo is a disgrace,” she said in a speech to her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, slamming Russian and Iranian support for the bombardment by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“It is a disgrace that we have been unable to establish humanitarian corridors, but we must continue to fight for it,” she said.
Russia and China used their veto power Dec. 5 in the U.N. Security Council to block a draft resolution calling for a seven-day humanitarian truce in Aleppo.
The resolution, sponsored by New Zealand, Egypt and Spain, sought to allow for the removal of the sick and wounded and to provide humanitarian aid workers enough time to get food aid and medicine into the besieged city.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Syrian rebels in Aleppo on Dec. 6 that they would be wiped out unless they agree to stop fighting and quit the besieged city, while the Syrian government said it rejected any cease-fire for Aleppo unless it included the departure of all rebels from the eastern part of the city.
Lavrov told reporters during a press conference in Moscow on Dec. 6 that “those who refuse to leave nicely will be destroyed. There is no other way,” The Associated Press reported.
Lavrov also lamented what he described as attempts by the United States to obtain a pause in the fighting in Aleppo to allow rebels to re-arm and re-supply. He said that “serious conversations with our American partners are not working.”
Syrian government forces are closely backed by Russian air power in the Mideast country’s civil war. Government forces recently launched a new push to retake rebel-held eastern Aleppo neighborhoods and seized large parts of the city.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried on the state SANA news agency on Dec. 6 that the government would not allow the rebels a chance to “regroup and repeat their crimes” in the divided city.
Rebel groups swiftly rejected any talk of an evacuation.
Yasser al-Youssef of the Nureddine al-Zinki faction, a leading rebel group in Aleppo, described any such proposal as “unacceptable.”
“It is for the Russians to leave,” he told AFP.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel shelling of Aleppo’s government-held districts had killed 81 civilians in the past three weeks.