Arab News

The Failures of Aleppo Will Haunt Us All

Aleppo, Syrian refugees, News on the Syrian civil war, Today’s news headlines, Bashar al-Assad, accountability for Syria crimes, crimes against humanity, Russia, UN Security Council, Jan Egeland,

© rrodrickbeiler

December 23, 2016 06:23 EDT

People of Aleppo are suffering from a lack of political will to take decisive action among the world’s powerful countries.

The fall of Aleppo, and the horrific bombing campaign that has including the targeting of schools and hospitals, has been compared with the atrocities of Srebrenica, Rwanda and the destruction of Stalingrad. Despite these comparisons, and the pleading of trapped Syrians for international help that have filled our screens, there was no concerted international action.

Why was no help for the people of Aleppo forthcoming? Principally because of a lack of political will to take decisive action among the world’s powerful countries.

It is the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council who have especially failed. This is the body set up post Second World War to protect global peace and security, but in Syria members of the Security Council are playing an active role and backing different sides in the conflict. The narrow focus on individual strategic interests is at the expense of the lives of Syrian civilians, and of course completely opposite to the mandate and spirit of the United Nations (UN).

Beyond Syria, it sends a message that conflicts will be partisan, and powerful countries will act with impunity for the horrific acts of violence that they or their proxies commit. Where is the moral compass now to guide humanity?

Back in Aleppo, Syrians find themselves in a situation where they have in effect been pleading for “forced displacement,” itself a war crime. The alternative is staying and facing bombing, execution or starvation. For those that have been evacuated, their situation remains precarious and they are in need of urgent medical attention, humanitarian assistance and protection.

And, of course Aleppo represents just part of the Syrian conflict. According to Jan Egeland, head of the UN Humanitarian Task Force, there are a further 700,000 people in urgent need of help in 16 other besieged areas. As fighting continues in other areas, there is also the question of which is the Syrian city that will become the next Aleppo, and whether anything can be done to minimize civilian causalities

The international community must come up with a clear plan to protect civilians across Syria. The UN needs to enforce a comprehensive humanitarian assistance plan to help all those in need, and member states must urgently provide the political pressure on their allies operating in Syria to allow this to happen.

And, ultimately, those responsible on all sides for the bloodletting, and those who sponsored them, must be held to account for their crimes.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: rrodrickbeiler

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