Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and current President of the Security Council, said that his country will continue to work with the rest of the members of the Council to ensure that the Assad regime is held accountable for its crimes and the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.
Speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Rycroft said that the route at the UN Security Council to hold Bashar Al-Assad accountable for the use of banned weapons is currently blocked. Despite Russia and China’s vetoing of the Western-backed UNSC resolution, Britain and its partners will not declare they are giving up on this issue, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has accused the Assad regime of deliberately attacking an aid convoy near Aleppo last September, and labeled a forced evacuation of opposition-held parts of the east of the city as a “war crime.”
In a report released on Wednesday covering the capture of Aleppo by forces supporting the Assad regime, the UN Human Rights Council concluded that the Assad regime repeatedly used chemical weapons and cluster munitions, and systematically destroyed hospitals.
The assault on eastern Aleppo was strongly supported by Russian jets and Iranian-backed militias.
The report described as “particularly egregious attack” the targeting of a humanitarian aid convoy by the Assad regime and Russian air forces western rural Aleppo on September19, killing more than a dozen aid workers and destroying vital supplies for civilians in need.
The evidence strongly suggested that the attack in which 20 civilians and aid workers were killed was “meticulously planned and ruthlessly carried out,” the report said.
The destruction of most of the convoy and the subsequent suspension of further aid deliveries served as a “starve or surrender” policy pursued by the Assad regime in eastern Aleppo and other opposition-held areas of Syria.
The report also said there was conclusive evidence that the Assad regime forces had dropped toxic industrial chemicals, including chlorine on opposition communities throughout the last year, causing hundreds of casualties.
The UN report also detailed the systematic destruction of healthcare facilities in eastern Aleppo. It found that no hospitals were functioning there at the time the last residents fled. During the recapture of rebel-held parts of the city, pro-regime forces had arrested doctors and aid workers and committed reprisal executions, the report added.
The report stressed that the Assad regime and committed war crimes by forcing the evacuation of the eastern part of Aleppo city for “strategic reasons” and “not for the security of civilians, or imperative military necessity.” The report concluded that the Aleppo evacuation agreement- which was overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross- amounted to the “war crime of forced displacement.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)