Syria – Conflict

Russia, United States Face off at UN as Airstrikes Pound Aleppo

Russia, United States Face off at UN as Airstrikes Pound Aleppo
Wed Sep 21, 2016 20:27:54

Russia and the United States faced off at the United Nations over the carnage in Syria on Wednesday, as air strikes pounded Aleppo for a third straight day following the collapse of a ceasefire.

The UN Security Council held crisis talks to try to revive the truce and chart a course towards ending the five-year war in Syria that has killed 300,000 people.

“We are at a make or break moment,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council, urging world powers to use their influence to help re-start political talks so Syrians can “negotiate a way out of the hell in which they are trapped.”

Russia and the United States negotiated the latest ceasefire plan, but Syria ended the truce on Monday following a US-led coalition strike on Syrian soldiers.

Shortly after the truce ended, a UN aid convoy was hit in an air strike that US officials have blamed on Russia.

On Wednesday, heavy bombardment pummeled Aleppo city and the wider province, key battlegrounds in Syria’s conflict, and a raid hit a medical team late Tuesday.

Addressing the council, US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that Russia force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to ground its air force, blamed for targeting hospitals and barrel-bombing civilians.

“I believe that to restore credibility to the process we must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and to give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded,” Kerry said.

Moscow denies that Russian or Syrian planes carried out the strike on Monday on the aid convoy that killed 20 people, and a military spokesman said a coalition drone was in the area when it was destroyed.

Ban told the council he was looking at “options for vigorously investigating” the attack, AFP reported.

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