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War of Words in UN Security Council as Aleppo’s Civilians Suffer

Staffan de Mistura (left), UN Special Envoy for Syria, speaks with Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of Russia. Credit: UN Photo/Amanda Voisard.

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 14 2016 (IPS) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told UN Security Council members of credible reports of civilians in Aleppo being summarily executed during an emergency meeting held on Tuesday.

However despite Ban’s words of warning about the unfolding crisis, divisions within the Security Council were as evident as ever with Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin suggesting that the UN Secretariat – led by Ban – may be being used an instrument in a “cynical game.”

In his briefing Ban said that as the council met “civilian deaths and injuries continue(d) at a brutal pace”.

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has received reports of civilians, including women and children, in four neighbourhoods being rounded up and executed,” said Ban.

The meeting took place as Syrian government forces took the city of Aleppo. Churkin announced midway through the meeting that “the Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo.”

“History will not easily absolve us, but this failure compels us to do even more to offer the people of Aleppo our solidarity at this moment,” Ban Ki-moon.

Ban noted that while “Syrian authorities have systematically denied us the presence on the ground to directly verify reports… this does not mean that the reports that we are receiving are not credible.”

However Churkin took issue with Ban’s words as well as those of other Security Council members, accusing them of spreading “fake news.”

“Young kids are being covered with dust in order to be presented as victims of bombings,” Churkin told journalists after the meeting.

In August, video and photographs of five year-old Omran Daqneesh, covered in blood and dust after his home in Aleppo was bombed, spread around the world.

In October Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed that the photos were manipulated and forged. Assad’s comments seemingly contradicted his own wife Asma who had told Russian television that what had happened to Aylan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh was “a tragedy”.

While Churkin began his statement by referring to “propaganda,” “disinformation” and “fake news” it appears that Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Ja’afari may also have engaged in this practice during the meeting itself.

During his address to the council Ja’afari held up images, including a photograph he claimed showed Syrian forces helping civilians, however according to Syrian journalist Hadi Alabdallah on Twitter one of the images was originally from Iraq.

Aside from Russia and Venezuela, the majority of UN member states addressing the meeting expressed support for Ban’s concerns for the civilians of Aleppo.

“I choose to believe the Secretary-General when he comes to this Council and tells us there are credible reports of atrocities being committed,” said Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s permanent representative to the UN.

Van Bohemen turned claims from Ja’afari that the UN couldn’t independently verify reports back on the Syrian government which has refused access to independent UN observers.

“The UN is not on the ground, the UN is not able to verify, so it’s no good coming back and telling us you’ve done all these reports and investigations yourself because no one’s there to check on you,” said van Bohemen.

Looking to what happens next Ban called on pro-Assad forces “to ensure that those who have surrendered or been captured are treated humanely and in line with international law.”

Ban said that the Syrian government had chosen the path of a “total, uncompromising military victory,” a departure from UN efforts which have struggled to find a political solution to the conflict over many months of on-again, off-again talks.

“History will not easily absolve us, but this failure compels us to do even more to offer the people of Aleppo our solidarity at this moment,” said Ban.

Staffan de Mistura the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria told journalists after the meeting that the military acceleration was not likely to lead to peace, and that the conflict could “continue for many years.

“So this is actually the best moment to insist that a peace process needs to be restarted,” said de Mistura.

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  • Marshalldoc

    Considering the U.N.’s been as complicit in this U.S.-NATO-GCC jihadi-fronted regime change operation, the least they could do is ignore the latest variant of the ‘Benghazi Massacre’ lie and allow the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, & Hezbollah to clean up the despicable mess they’ve made in Syria. Naturally, any truthful reportage on this issue showing thousands of grateful civilian hostages fleeing east Aleppo for the safety & aid offered by the Syrian Arab Army & its legally present Russian allies (contrary to the Nuremberg-defying ‘western’ presence) will be branded as ‘fake news’ and ignored while the western-funded propaganda organs of the SOHR, AMC, and White (black?) Helmets will be ballyhooed for the utter crap they churn out that will be seen as received truth. My gorge rises!

  • I laff at chew

    “The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has received reports of civilians, including women and children, in four neighbourhoods being rounded up and executed,” said Ban.”

    Indeed —- but, on the other hand…..this ‘high commissioner of human rights’ is none other than Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad —- a Jordanian.

    And lo and behold, guess who is one of the biggest supporters of ‘regime change’ in Syria and one of the biggest arms suppliers thereof ?

    You guessed it : Jordan.

    What a coincidence, eh ?

    The Russian and Syrian envoys to the UN should have exercised the same practice of terrorist Amerika when confronted in the UN —- walking out in the middle of the terrorist’s sentence.

  • originalone

    Can anything be believed today? The P.R./fake news geared toward the mindless who only read the headlines before running to the kitchen for the next food gorge, has produced this situation that the world is facing on a daily basis. The “KABUKI” that’s being played out in the U.S. POTUS election, is a distraction for the disastrous debacle in the war on terror that the U.S.A continues waging under the banner of being the good guy.

  • Alexander Hardy

    The sad truth is that the United Nations is of little more relevance than its predecessor. It has become a cover for the dirtier actions of its most powerful member.
    These latest reports from Aleppo are completely in keeping with the lies peddled under the imprimatur of the UN on behalf of its prime patron.
    Power rules. The UN has no way round this. Which is the most powerful country in the world? Which country spends most on its military? Which country ensures that Israel will NOT be censured, nor Saudi Arabia and its close allies in the Persian Gulf.
    When has the UN spoken out against the atrocities perpetrated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and now Syria and Yemen. Which country has been involved in all of these (and many other) wars? And when has the UN spoken out? It is a moribund and expensive encumbrance that, like that other multi-national body the EU, should be dispensed with as quickly as possible.

  • BillinDetroit

    You’ve raised a good question and the answer is “No. If the news has some sort of official sanction, it is not to be believed. Ever. And if it does not, it should be taken with “a grain of salt” until verified by some other account as far removed from the first as is possible.”

    Our own DHS was tampering in (at least) the election in the state of Georgia … but the idiot media / globalist propaganda arm is screeching about Russia and claiming that alternative sources of the news engage in something they call “fake news” (ie, propaganda that disagrees with their own propaganda).

    IF (a big “IF”) Donald Trump is who he says he is, look for the war on terror to take an abrupt turn for the better, with cessation of hostility where possible and annihilation where not possible.

  • BillinDetroit

    IF we Americans were actually able to elect who we THOUGHT we elected, look for the US to begin acting sane again. In either case, I think it is time for the UN to “go away”.

  • originalone

    You make good points, to which I concur. Looking at news far removed, I read that this up-coming “electoral college” count on 12-19-2016, if it doesn’t overturn the election, there may be a coup. Distraction? who knows, with all the actions taking place in the world today.

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