The collapse of the Syrian ceasefire negotiated by Russia and America has led to bitter recriminations in the UN Security Council as each blames the other for the breakdown.
Civilians in Aleppo are paying the price.
Humanitarian partners in Eastern Aleppo have told Save the Children International:
“One hospital said that 43 per cent of the injured they treated yesterday were children, and the ambulance crew with Shafak, a Syrian NGO, said more than 50 per cent of the casualties they have picked up in the last 48 hours are children. Doctors are working round the clock to try to save them, but children are dying on the floors of hospitals due to critical shortages of basic medicines and equipment, including ventilators, anaesthetics and antibiotics. Severe cases need to be transferred out of Eastern Aleppo for treatment, but all roads are blocked.”Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria Director, pleaded:
“The UN Security Council has a chance to right the wrong and prevent more suffering when it meets today in New York. They cannot leave the room until they agree an immediate ceasefire, with roads opened to allow us to bring desperately needed food, clean water and medical supplies in.
The information they have provided paints a picture of unimaginable violence and suffering for children and their families”The Security Council predictably could agree on nothing. America had failed to positively respond to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s warning on 2 June 2015:
“The U.S.’s “obsession” with [Syria’s President] Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State…
People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go “very far” unless stopped, and air strikes alone “are not going to do the trick”US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf had quickly dismissed Lavrov’s message – telling reporters that:
“… we’re certainly not going to coordinate with a brutal dictator who’s massacred so many of his own citizens.
That’s just an absurd proposition. That’s certainly not going to happen.”Syria’s civilian population meanwhile continued being murdered, injured and traumatised either by the Syrian Army, the American-backed rebel groups fighting to remove Assad or by Islamic State occupying huge chunks of Syria. America again failed to respond to a further plea by Lavrov on 18 November 2015:
“The Security Council needs to give preferential attention to the task of creating a solid legal foundation for the fight against this evil [Islamic State] and for the mobilization of an actual global coalition response to this common uncompromising challenge for us all”The eventual execution of a ceasefire agreement between Russia and America on 9 September 2016 only promised joint American-Russian co-operation to attack Islamic State and al-Nusrah without any United Nations imprimatur. This agreement is now dead in the water with the collapse of the ceasefire.
America’s recalcitrance has been shameful.
America and Russia need to stop trading barbs on the ceasefire fiasco and focus on resolving the common problem confronting the world in Syria – the defeat of Islamic State and al-Nusrah.
Co-sponsoring a Security Council resolution under Article 42 of the United Nations Charter authorising United Nations military action against Islamic State will lock in all 193 member States.
Syria’s citizens can start to hope that Syria will ultimately become reunified once again
America’s reputation will be considerably enhanced – as will Russia’s, which has been badly damaged in the last few years.
The United Nations will no longer be seen as a moral disgrace – but a moral place.