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Russia’s UN envoy: foreign military aid comes to militants in Aleppo on regular basis

July 25, 2016, 23:58 UTC+3 THE UNITED NATIONS

Militants in Aleppo use the "regime of calm" for regrouping and mobilizing fresh forces, Vitaly Churkin said

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THE UNITED NATIONS, July 25. /TASS/. Militants in Aleppo use the "regime of calm" for regrouping and mobilizing fresh forces, when foreign ministry aid comes to them on a regular basis, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Monday at a session of the UN Security Council devoted to the crisis in the Syrian city.

"Terrorists are using the ‘regime of calm’ to receive reinforcements from abroad, to regroup and mobilize new forces, including underage recruits," Churkin said. "Military aid is being delivered to entrenched militants on a regular basis, like in other besieged areas."

Churkin said that reinforcements arrived along Castello road, which the UN believes to be the only route for relief aid deliveries by land.

"We have evidence that this road is being intensively used not for humanitarian supplies to the population but for transporting weapons and ammunition to terrorists and for so-called ‘jihad-vehicles’ with suicide-bomber," he said.

At the UN Security Council session, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Steven O’Brien said that a full encirclement of eastern Aleppo by government forces should be prevented and suggested that weekly 48-hour-long pauses should be introduced for relief supplies to 250,000 people. The proposal was backed by the UK and France that accused Damascus of international humanitarian law violations. Along with this, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power directly linked the lifting of Aleppo siege to chances to resolve the Syria conflict peacefully.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN called "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe" in Aleppo. Also, he drew attention to the fact that residents of eastern districts "can go calmly at daylight" to the western part "where the situation is comparatively safe."

At the same time, Churkin insisted that "military operations of Syria’s government aimed at blocking and destroying terrorists pursue the goal of restoring law and order."

The diplomat mentioned an incident with the murder of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by militants of the U.S.-backed Nuruddin az-Zanki group. He is certain that those who feature the militants as moderate opposition and name them among participants in the cessation of hostilities, are protecting them from "fair punishment."

"The Security Council should have long expanded a list of terrorist organizations fighting in Syria," he said.

Sanctions should be removed from, contacts established with Damascus

At the UN Security Council session, Western ambassadors urged Russia to exert pressure on Damascus for delivering relief supplies to besieged areas. Churkin said in response that "periodic fanning of confrontation about the humanitarian dossier at the Security Council, permanent talks in terms of new ultimatums to the Syrian government, calls on Russia to exert pressure on it are counterproductive."

"Instead, I strongly recommend to go to Damascus, to establish working contacts with authorities and to do concrete useful work," he said, adding that "external sponsors" of the opposition had failed to fulfil their duties and so they "shoulder the larger part of responsibility for absence of humanitarian access to residential localities besieged by militants, primarily to Fua and Kefraya."

Besides, Churkin pointed to "the malign effect of unilateral sanctions against Damascus" imposed by the U.S. and European countries.

"We call on them to reject the measures which make the country’s entire population suffer from," he said. "First, bans on supplies of medicines and raw for their manufacturing should be removed."

Militants need to be separated from the opposition

Heated argument between Churkin and Power punctuated the open session on Syria of the UN Security Council. In particular, the two ambassadors exchanged remarks on deaths of dozens of people near the city of Manbij, who allegedly died in a U.S.-led coalition’s air strike.

Nevertheless, the session ended with certain consensus on the necessity to separate terrorist and opposition groups in Syria. The U.S. ambassador highlighted the issue although Russia had repeatedly mentioned it before.

Power suggested that Russia and the U.S. would join efforts to improve the situation in Aleppo and would cooperate to put an end to the conflict.

"I would not agree with some of remarks made by Ms. Power but I would like to note that she says absolutely right things that the so-called moderate opposition should dissociate from Jabhat al-Nusra. We mean that," Churkin said.

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