US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power sternly rebuked “Russian terror” in Syria in remarks made to the UN on Monday.
Power gave a comprehensive review of Russia’s activities in Syria bolstering the Assad regime. Power began her speech by condemning Russia and Assad’s “shocking, inhuman barrage on civilian neighbourhoods,” before slamming Russia for twisting the facts and trying to portray themselves as a humane force fighting terrorists.
The US has continually tried to engage Russia diplomatically to bring about an end to suffering in Syria, but the most recent attempt at a ceasefire failed when Syrian or Russian warplanes bombed a UN humanitarian aide convoy heading to relieve the people of Aleppo.
Power firmly rejected that Russia’s brief pause in bombing Aleppo “was some kind of humanitarian gesture.”
“The reality is that the Assad regime and Russia are continuing their ‘starve, get bombed, or surrender’ strategy in eastern Aleppo,” said Power.
Power said that Russia paused bombing in Aleppo in a unilateral way so that the UN couldn’t coordinate getting aide to the 275,000 Syrians languishing in Aleppo. “During this pause in strikes, Russia and the Assad regime never gave the UN permission to deliver a single parcel of food or medicine to eastern Aleppo. Not one,” said Power.
Power extended her chiding to the terrorist organisations like Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS who also act inhumanely, but went as far as to describe Russia’s involvement in the conflict as “Russian terror.”
She went into gritty detail backing up her claim that Russia and Assad have engaged in terror:
“Between November 13 and 15, five hospitals in Syria were struck. Five hospitals in two days. After airstrikes hit another hospital in eastern Aleppo on November 18, every hospital in that city is now reportedly out of service due to attacks by Russia and the Assad regime. Every single hospital serving a population of 275,000 civilians, out of commission. On November 6, an attack by the Assad regime on a Damascus suburb reportedly killed at least six children in a kindergarten. A kindergarten.”
Power specifically named a handful of officials in the Syrian regime, saying “know too that the international community is watching, and that you, too, will one day be held accountable.” Power compared these individuals, who now feel “impunity” due to Russia’s dominance in the region, to Charles Taylor, a convicted Liberian war criminal, and Slobodan Milosevic, who died awaiting trial on war crime charges.
Power pointed out Russia’s refusal to condemn a single airstrike carried out by its own planes, or Syrian planes under its advisement, even though clear evidence shows that civilian sites have been bombed time and time again. She also detailed harrowing reports of torture under the Assad regime, which she compared to ISIS’s acts of torture.
“Attacks on civilians fuel terrorism; they don’t defeat terrorism. The perpetrators must also know that, like their ignominious predecessors through history, they will face judgment for their crimes,” concluded Power.
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