Aleppo could become the graveyard of the Vienna process [fr]
Syria - Humanitarian situation in Aleppo - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i. - Security Council - 8 August 2016
1/. (…) Since the end of April, the regime and its supporters have put an end to the hopes raised by February’s truce, by embarking on a bloody offensive of Aleppo just when the inhabitants were beginning to resume their normal lives.
2./ Aleppo is therefore plunging, before our eyes, into a humanitarian tragedy. (…)
The intolerable figures and pictures we are seeing give us an idea of the atrocity being experienced every day in Aleppo, the unbelievable violence that only heightens despair and fuels radicalization.
Today, Aleppo is in danger of becoming the new Homs: a city on its knees, a city famished and destroyed.
3/. And the Syrian regime has chosen an extreme escalation. It’s a road to nowhere; it is even doomed to failure, as the military developments at the weekend also showed. But we must utterly condemn this extreme military escalation, in which the regime has supporters, and also expose the regime’s primary responsibility and its cynicism: on the pretext of the fight against terrorism, the regime is seeking to eliminate the opposition. It’s destroying maternity units, hospitals, schools, refugee camps and districts held by the opposition. It has constantly violated international humanitarian law, the resulutions of our Security Council, and the most fundamental principles of humanity. It hasn’t stopped bombing civilians. On the contrary, the desire to surround and starve Aleppo has been manifested in an intensification of strikes targeting vital infrastructure, and particularly hospitals, as we saw this morning.
And elsewhere in Syria, the situation is hardly any better: the regime’s bombs are raining down in particular on the area of Idlib, with the possible use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs.
4/. So in order to prevent these intolerable deaths, the past months should have been devoted to the search for a lasting truce, to full and complete humanitarian access and to a political transition on 1 August. What I’m saying to you isn’t France’s position, it’s the commitments of the whole international community, it’s what Security Council Resolution 2254 says. And yet the regime has been constantly violating those commitments.
5/. France steadfastly calls for international humanitarian law to be strictly respected and therefore, once again, for the sieges to be lifted immediately and for swift, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Aleppo’s men, women and children to be established. In the case of Aleppo, there is nothing humanitarian about the so-called “corridors” proposed by Russia. They could have been described as such if they scrupulously respected international obligations and principles on humanitarian access and on the cessation of hostilities, as the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has pointed out. At this stage, their sole aim was to step up the evacuation of the city so as to bring it to its knees more effectively. All this contradicts Security Council resolutions. It is humanitarian aid that must enter, not civilians who must leave.
Twenty years after the siege of Sarajevo, the Security Council cannot stand by as such barbaric tactics recur. (…) There will be no long-term political solution, there will be no effective fight against terrorism, as long as Syrian civilians are being massacred. Aleppo could become the graveyard of the Vienna process.
Any proposed half-measures, any offer which doesn’t lead to a possible lasting truce and immediate, full and unfettered access to all Syrians, to encourage a transition to which the international community has committed itself in order to end the conflict, is only derisory in view of the situation. And we solemnly appeal to the regime’s supporters and the members of the Security Council and of the International Syria Support Group who have influence over the regime to shoulder their responsibilities to this end.