UN outraged at attacks on civilians in Syria



UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES- The UN Security Council expressed outrage on Thursday at attacks on civilians and medical facilities in Syria and warned they may amount to war crimes.
Backed by Russia, Syria's ally, the council released the statement ahead of a key meeting in Vienna on Tuesday of the 17-nation International Support Group for Syria (ISSG).
World powers face the daunting task of shoring up a collapsing ceasefire, agreeing on a new date for peace talks and pressing for aid deliveries to areas crushed by starvation sieges.



International alarm has grown after a camp for displaced Syrians was hit by an air strike in northern Syrian and hospitals were hit by shelling and air strikes during fierce fighting in Aleppo this month.
Council members "expressed outrage at all recent attacks in Syria directed against civilians and civilian objects including medical facilities, as well as all indiscriminate attacks, and stressed that these actions may amount to war crimes," said the statement.
The council in particular stressed "the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks and attacks against civilians and civilian objects.
Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta, this month's president of the council, said restoring the ceasefire was a priority.
"We have to really stand firm against any breach of this cessation of hostilities," he said.
"We are in contact with all the parties inside Syria and trying to find a way to secure the situation."
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the ISSG meeting must lead to a return to the truce agreed between the United States and Russia at the end of February.
"What is important is that out of the ISSG come a recommitment to the cessation of hostilities," said Dujarric.
The Vienna meeting must ensure that "all those who sit around the table at the ISSG who have the ability to put pressure and to influence the fighting on the ground, put that influence to good use," he said.
The United States and its allies in Europe and in the Gulf blame the Syrian regime for the upsurge in fighting and have urged Russia to rein in Damascus.
Moscow accuses the US-led side of backing radical jihadists including groups fighting alongside the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front in Aleppo.
More than 270,000 people have died and half of the country's population of 22 million have been driven from their homes during the five-year war.
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Friday, May 13th 2016
AFP
           


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