Aleppo "abandoned to its executioners," without immediate end to bombing, argues French FM

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Russia exercising its veto in the UN Security Council on 8 October. Credit: UN Photo, Cia Pak

The besieged Syrian city of Aleppo will soon lie in ruins, "abandoned to its executioners", without an immediate end to bombing by the government and its allies.

That's according to the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, addressing the UN Security Council in New York on Saturday.

He spoke minutes before Russia used its veto as a permanent member of the council to reject a French and Spanish resolution demanding an immediate end to military flights over Aleppo.

More details from Matthew Wells.

Senior UN officials have been warning all week that the fate of roughly 275,000 civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo, now hangs in the balance, following days of heavy bombardment from Syrian regime and Russian planes.

Among them are 100,000 children, who have endured more than 5 years of brutal civil war, and have been without life-saving food and medical supplies since the siege began in July.

Mr Ayrault implored Russia to support the resolution which would have put the Secretary-General in charge of proposing ceasefire options, and supported full humanitarian access.

Failing that, Syria's ancient second city, would soon be destroyed.

His words were spoken through an interpreter.

"This town will soon just be in ruins and will remain in history as a town in which the inhabitants were abandoned to their executioners. The Security Council must take a very straightforward and clear decision; it must demand immediate action in order to save Aleppo. It must demand an end to all the bombings by the regime and its allies."

But Russia backed by Venezuela was unmoved, and Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin dismissed the resolution as a "waste of time".

He accused terrorists within opposition ranks, of continuing to strike civilian targets in western Aleppo, which made an end to military flights out of the question.

Another resolution that sought to re-establish terms of the failed ceasefire, circulated by Russia, similarly failed to gain support, leaving the council deadlocked.

The UK's ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, accused Russia of denigrating the "credibility and respect" of the Security Council, and condemning the people of Aleppo to another night of fear and pain.

A humanitarian crisis was being turned into a "humanitarian catastrophe" he said.

China's ambassador Liu Jieyi, said the council now needed to push for a new consensus on behalf of the long-suffering people of Syria.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.


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