The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, pushed the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to focus “all eyes and all pressure” on Russia to try and end the Syrian conflict and pressed for council action even if it faces a veto by Moscow.
“They are the ones who could stop this if they wanted to,” Haley said of Russia. “We need to put pressure on Russia.”
“I will continue to press the Security Council to act, to do something, regardless of if the Russians continue to veto it because it is our voice that needs to be heard,” Haley told a Security Council meeting on aid access in Syria.
“Russia continues to cover for the Syrian regime, Russia continues to allow them to keep humanitarian aid from the people that need it, Russia continues to cover for a leader who uses chemical weapons against his own people,” Haley said.
Meanwhile, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said that civilians trapped in the besieged eastern Ghouta face an extremely difficult situation.
“I am also gravely concerned about the situation in besieged eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, where civilians remain trapped amid reports of relentless shelling, airstrikes and ground fighting,” O’Brien told the UN Security Council on Thursday.
O’Brien explained the last informal access routes to eastern Ghouta have been cut off, which further aggravates the situation for the 400,000 people who live in the area. The United Nations has been unable to reach them since October.
O’Brien noted an increase in administrative and other bureaucratic impediments by the Assad regime to delivering aid and called for the lifting of such arbitrary restrictions.
O’Brien said that the failure to deliver aid to those in need is a stain on the international community, especially the UN Security Council, as well as the members of the humanitarian task force of the International Syria Support Group.
The evacuations of civilians from a number of towns and villages in recent weeks were not in line with humanitarian principles, and are not conducted in consultation with the people affected, O’Brien added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)