UN General Assembly votes in favor of Syria ceasefire


Syrian civilians evacuate a residential building that has been bombed by pro-regime warplanes in Aleppo. File photo

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted in favor of an an immediate ceasefire in Syria and access for humanitarian aid.

The General Assembly demanded an immediate ceasefire in Syria and urgent aid deliveries in a resolution adopted by a strong majority as Syrian forces launched another assault on Aleppo.

The resolution, drafted by Canada, passed by a vote of 122 to 13 in the 193-nation assembly, with 36 abstentions.

Russia, Iran and China opposed the resolution.

“This is a vote to stand up and tell Russia and Assad to stop the carnage,” US Ambassador Samantha Power told the assembly ahead of the vote. “This is a vote to defend the bedrock principles of how states should act, even in war.”

Power appealed to Syria and its allies to allow civilians to leave eastern Aleppo and give rebel fighters safe exit from the city. “Do not send them to be tortured in regime prisons,” she said.

In the meantime, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused the United States of engaging in “aggressive rhetoric” and argued that the resolution had “major shortcomings” by failing to emphasise the need to combat terrorist groups.

The resolution demands a “complete end to all attacks on civilians” and the immediate cessation of hostilities. It calls for lifting of all sieges and the “rapid, safe, sustained, unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access” throughout Syria.

Russia and China this week vetoed a draft Security Council resolution calling for a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo, the Syrian city that is on the verge of falling to government forces. It was the sixth time that Moscow, a close Assad ally, has used its veto in the council to block action over Syria.



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