Washington wants to act in Syria if necessary, should the UN Security Council not respond to the escalating violence in the civil war country. France is again threatened with “targeted blows”.
If Russia does not back the demand for a 30-day ceasefire, the US would act alone, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in the Security Council in New York. “It’s not the way we prefer, but it’s a way we’ve already shown we can go and we’re ready to go again,” Haley said. Details did not call her. Last year, after poisoning with poison gas in Syria, the US bombed an air force base of the Syrian armed forces.
Washington called on the Security Council to call for an immediate 30-day ceasefire for the capital Damascus and the rebel enclave of East Ghuta. By the end of February, the institution had called for such a ceasefire for the entire country by resolution. There was no legally binding decision. In addition, exceptions have been allowed for the fight against terrorist organizations.
Russia: immediate ceasefire “utopian”
Russia had voted in favor of the resolution, but shortly afterwards unilaterally announced a daily fire break for East Ghuta lasting only several hours. Moscow justified the move by saying that an immediate ceasefire would have been “utopian”, as Russian UN ambassador Vasily Nebensja said.
In addition, the “anti-terrorist operations” of the Syrian government are covered by the resolution. US Ambassador Haley announced a new resolution that no longer contained “anti-terrorist loopholes”. If and when, when can be voted on this draft is still unclear.
Macron draws red line
France also again announced “targeted blows” should a lethal use of chemical weapons in the Syrian war be irrefutably proven. This is the red line, said President Emmanuel Macron. “We have the independent ability to carry out these strikes,” warned the 40-year-old in Benares at the end of his multi-day visit to India. Paris had repeatedly threatened with air strikes in Syria on proven use of chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to the UN Security Council to comply with the internationally-mandated cease-fire. In addition, “humanitarian evacuations” from eastern Ghuta are “urgently needed”, said the Portuguese. Nor can he report on safe, unhindered and permanent aid deliveries to the population, as required by the resolution of late February.
More than 350,000 dead in the Syrian war
The rebel area East Ghuta east of Damascus has been besieged and shot at by Syrian government troops for three weeks with Russian support. Insurgents fire from the enclave on missiles on Damascus. Since the beginning of the offensive, more than a thousand civilians have been killed, including 200 children.
In total, more than 350,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war, including more than 105,000 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. According to these figures only victims are included whose death is proven. The death toll is estimated at more than 500,000, activists say.
In Syria, Assad troops, opposition rebels and terrorist groups are fighting each other. In addition to Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia are on Assad’s side. Turkey is also militarily militating against Kurdish militias in the Afrin region, which in turn receive US aid. The beginning of the conflict marks the seventh anniversary of this coming Thursday.