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Syrian opposition group demands 'action against Russia' ahead of UN vote Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syrian opposition group demands 'action against Russia' ahead of UN vote

Vladimir Putin is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 February, 2018

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The Syrian opposition group has urged the UN Security Council to take action against Russia’s vetoing of a ceasefire in Syria and prevent it from voting on further resolutions.

The Syrian National Coalition (SOC) has condemned Russia's involvement in Syria in what it called a "genocide" and "crimes against humanity".

The vice president of the Syrian political opposition group, Salwa Aksoy, called on the UN Security Council to take action against Russia over a Swedish-Kuwaiti draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta which Moscow has threatened to veto.

Friday marked the sixth consecutive day of bombardment of the rebel-held area, which is home to 400,000 people and located on the outskirts of Damascus.

More than 400 have died since the strikes began, including at least 150 children. More than 2,000 have also been wounded since Sunday.

"The aggression is barbaric. Hospitals, schools and markets have all been targeted. It’s a living hell," Aksoy said.

Aksoy added that the UN Security Council's charter states that parties to a conflict – in this case Russia – are asked to refrain from voting on resolutions.

"We want the world to start dealing differently with Russia and we want to start putting pressure on the international community to stop Russia from using a veto anymore," Aksoy added.

Russia has to date vetoed 10 UN resolutions on Syria.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would consider a UN draft resolution only if it did not cover fighters from the Islamic State or Tahrir al-Sham.

Later that day, Russia's envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia rejected the Swedish-Kuwaiti draft resolution and proposed a series of amendments.

The US and other world leaders criticised Russia for suggesting the bombardment was needed to counter terrorism.

"It is simply preposterous to claim that these attacks on civilians have anything to do with fighting terrorism," US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said.

A new draft resolution will go to a vote at 7.30 GMT.

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