17 Aug 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – The head of the United Nations warned again on Tuesday of an unprecedented “humanitarian catastrophe” in Syria’s largest city Aleppo.In his latest monthly report to the Security Council, Ban Ki-moon pressed Russia and the US to quickly arrange a ceasefire in and beyond the city: “In Aleppo we risk seeing a humanitarian catastrophe unprecedented in the over five years of bloodshed and suffering in the Syrian conflict.”
However, Ban offered no idea on how Russia — which is providing essential backing to the Assad regime through intense airstrikes — could be persuaded to pursue a meaningful cessation of hostilities. Instead, the Secretary-General referred to the escalation of assaults, with a reference to the Assad regime’s barrel-bombing tactics: The fight for territory and resources is being undertaken through indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, including through the use of barrel bombs, killing hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children.
All parties to the conflict are failing to uphold their obligation to protect civilians.
The Secretary General repeated a UN call for a “humanitarian pause” of at least 48 hours in Aleppo to allow aid deliveries. Ban’s report came soon after a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the call on Tuesday afternoon was at Kerry’s initiative. It gave no details of the conversation.
The head nurse of a children’s hospital in opposition-held Aleppo city speaks of a Russian-regime airstrike on the facility: Meanwhile, Russia confirmed its first airstrikes from a base in western Iran. The Russians flew some of their largest bombers, the Tu22-33M “Backfire”, and Su-34 jet fighters from Hamedan across Iraq and into northern Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry said attacks were carried out on Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo, and Idlib Provinces. It claimed the attacks were on the Islamic State and the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra); however, the inclusion of Idlib in the list of locations pointed to bombing of Syrian rebels as well. www.mesop.de