UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria

Russia has been accused of a “lack of humanity” in the Syrian conflict by the UK’s Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce after it was revealed that more than half of displaced people in Idlib province are children. (AFP)
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Updated 21 February 2020

UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria

  • Nearly 1 million people forced to flee Idlib since Dec. 1 amid regime attacks supported by Russia
  • 60 percent of that number are children

LONDON: Russia has been accused of a “lack of humanity” in the Syrian conflict by the UK’s Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce after it was revealed that more than half of displaced people in Idlib province are children.
Pierce said the UN had recently been given a “sobering and frightening” briefing about the humanitarian crisis in Syria, where nearly 1 million people have been forced to flee Idlib since Dec. 1 amid attacks by regime forces supported by Russia.
She added that the report had revealed that more than 900,000 people were in “grave danger” as they escaped from the attacks in freezing winter conditions. Around 60 percent of that number are children.
Pierce, the UK’s ambassador-designate to the US, has been consistently critical of Russia’s involvement in the conflict, and accused Moscow of abusing the UN veto system to protect and help Syrian President Bashar Assad, who she said was “attacking his own people.”
She called on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Assad to “end indiscriminate and inhumane attacks” in the northwest of the country, which have led to innocent civilian casualties.
Pierce told Sky News: “I think it’s cynical of the Russians. I think it shows the lack of humanity. They would’ve seen the same footage and the scenes you’ve just shown your viewers, and yet they don’t want to do anything to try to protect civilians.”
She said the UN was ready and willing to back a cease-fire, but it could not happen until Moscow agreed to back it too.
“The UN wants to act and 13 members of the Security Council want to act, but we’re stopped from acting because of Russia, supported by China,” Pierce added.
“That’s the main thing — to get the Russians to restrain the Syrians and stop aiding them in the bombings that they’re doing, including the bombing of hospitals, which is against the Geneva Convention. Russia and the Syria regime don’t really care what price has to be paid by civilians.”
She also accused Assad of using the blocking of vital medical supplies to those in need as leverage in an attempt to regain control of rebel-held areas of the country.
“If Assad can’t put right the problems that led to the crisis in 2011-2012, then Syria will never be stable and the government of Syria will never be able to govern the whole of Syria,” Pierce said.
“So there are some very pressing, long-term questions to sort out as well as these immediate short-term needs.”
Her comments came after Russia on Friday proposed a summit on Syria that would include French, German and Turkish officials.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “concrete support” from France and Germany would be needed to bring an end to the conflict, and confirmed there would be no Turkish troop withdrawal from Idlib.


UAE to resume transit flights at its airports

Updated 04 June 2020

UAE to resume transit flights at its airports

DUBAI: The government of the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday the Gulf state would resume transit flights after suspending them in March.
The government did not say exactly when transit flights would resume in its announcement on Twitter.

 

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