“Incandescent” relief chief tells Council “buck stops with you” in Aleppo

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Stephen O'Brien. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

“Incandescent with rage”, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator told members of the Security Council “the buck stops with you” when it comes to saving eastern Aleppo from total destruction.

Stephen O’Brien used his monthly briefing on the Middle East, to tell the council that “selfish, inhuman interests” had “trumped the moral imperative” of ending Syria’s five-year-long war.

Matthew Wells reports.

An anguished Mr O’Brien described how UN hopes for evacuating sick and injured children from eastern Aleppo last Sunday had been dashed by the failure of warring parties to agree safe passage.

Syrian and Russian forces had refused to extend their temporary ceasefire, plunging the city’s residents back into what he called a horrific “kill zone” in which 400 had died over the past month, many of them children.

“I cannot help but be incandescent with rage. Month after month, worse and worse, and nothing is actually happening to stop the war, stop the suffering. This council has been charged with the responsibility for ending this horror. The buck stops with you. This litany of horror must surely share your moral conscience as it does around the world. Surely the international community must question the value they genuinely place in humanity, when entire neighbourhoods in one of the world’s oldest cities, risk annihilation, their residents treated with gross contempt, as nothing more than bricks and mortar pounded into dust.”

The UN’s humanitarian relief chief asked council members involved in the Syria’s civil war to end the aerial bombardment of Aleppo, and said it was time to stop using humanitarian needs and the lives of children, as “political or military bargaining chips.”

“Once again, parties to this terrible conflict” he added “have sought to do exactly that.”

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'15″

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