Beirut, New York: The U.N. Security Council failed on Saturday to approve two separate French and Russian draft resolutions after Moscow vetoed a Paris proposal demanding an end to the bombing of Aleppo, while Russia’s draft failed to receive the minimum required votes.
As fierce battles continued in the neighborhoods of Aleppo, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on Syria Saturday following the warning of U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura, who said eastern Aleppo might be totally destroyed by the end of this year due to the Russian and Syrian air campaign.
Russia and Venezuela were the only two member-states who vetoed the French text, while China and Angola had abstained from voting.
Before the meeting, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged the council to take immediate action to save Aleppo from being destroyed by the Russia-backed Syrian bombing campaign.
Meanwhile, battles escalated in downtown Aleppo . Activists reported heavy air strikes on the rebel-held Fardos and Sukari neighborhoods.
Reports say that 968 people have been killed in Aleppo, only two weeks after a joint U.S.-Russia ceasefire collapsed. Residents of Aleppo currently fear that their fate would be similar to that of the residents of Daraya and Ghouta, where around 8,000 people were expelled last August, following four years of enforced siege.
The French draft resolution demanded an immediate end to air strikes and military flights over Aleppo, while the Russian draft resolution called for the immediate cessation of fighting, particularly in Aleppo.
A diplomat at the Security Council who wished to remain anonymous told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Russian text includes many constructive expressions taken from previous resolutions and from the French text. However, the diplomat said: “The Russian text does not mention any halting of air strikes.”
The diplomat added: “The majority of Security Council members want the immediate cessation of military operations against Aleppo.”
Britain’s ambassador to the U.N. Matthew Rycroft lashed out at Russia during the Security Council meeting, saying: “Your veto today, Mr. President, has only confirmed what we have known for so long. Russia’s actions in recent weeks have exposed just how hollow Russia’s commitment to the peaceful process is.”
The British ambassador also criticized Moscow’s use of the veto to block U.N. resolutions on Syria, for the fifth time since the start of the five-and-a-half year conflict.