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UN approves draft resolution against Syrian government, Russia votes against

November 20, 2013, 14:31 UTC+3 20
The document places the brunt of responsibility for military crimes and human right abuse in the conflict that has lasted since March 2011 on the Syrian government
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© EPA/SVEN HOPPE

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 (Itar-Tass) - Syrian opposition supporters have managed to persuade the General Assembly’s Third Committee to approve of a draft resolution that places the brunt of responsibility for military crimes and human right abuse in the conflict that has lasted since March 2011 on the Syrian government.

The draft that urges the Security Council to put an end to such action in Syria was co-authored by Bahrain, Britain, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France and approved by 123 countries. Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, Syria and eight more countries opposed the proposal. The rest, 46 countries, among them India, Kazakhstan, Mali and South Africa, abstained.

In particular, the resolution notes the Syrian government’s failure to protect the population and secure safe delivery of humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, the document is not unbiased in reflecting the rebels’ implication in illegal action — the opposition is only mentioned at the end of several paragraphs.

The acute problem of militants and armed groups’ penetration into the country has also received one-sided coverage in the document. The resolution strongly condemns participation of all foreign combatants in the Syrian armed conflict, in particular those fighting on the government’s side, including Hezbollah.

The document specifically highlights the incident involving the use of chemical weapons in Damascus’ suburb Guta on August 21, which is referred to as mass killing. Although the UN inspectors blamed neither of the sides, the resolution states that rockets containing sarin were fired on August 21 from government-held territory into opposition-controlled areas.

The document also demands that the Syrian government fulfil the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ decisions and eliminate nerve gas weapons. The resolution does not say whether the opposition may have such munitions, though.

The document is to be discussed at a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly by the year-end. This will be a formality, though. An overwhelming majority in the Third Committee has already approved the project.

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