France slams Russian, regime 'cynicism' in Syria
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault attacked on Monday the "cynicism" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime and its Russian ally, while urging support for a new ceasefire.
Paris: French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault attacked on Monday the "cynicism" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime and its Russian ally, while urging support for a new ceasefire.
Ayrault appealed to the "conscience of all the members of the (UN) Security Council" to support a French-drafted resolution to impose a truce in Aleppo, where the regime has launched a ferocious offensive to take back rebel-held areas.
Moscow on Monday insisted its bombing campaign in Syria was "highly effective", denying its jets struck hospitals.
The statement came after the largest hospital in opposition held eastern Aleppo was bombed over the weekend for the second time in days, with the UN`s top aid official referring to the "living hell" suffered by locals.
"I call on Russia to take responsibility. The bombardment of hospitals is a war crime. Is Russia going to bear the responsibility for such intolerable acts?" he asked.
Ayrault singled out the Russian statement, which he said led people to believe those hit in the strikes were "terrorists."
"But the terrible images that we have seen are of civilians. Men, women and children and elderly people who are being killed and mutilated," he said.
The United Nations has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo unlike any witnessed so far in Syria`s brutal five-year war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.
Ayrault defended Syria`s renowned White Helmets volunteer rescue force and railed against the regime tactics.
"The White Helmets, who are extraordinary people, were called terrorists by Bashar`s regime and by Russia. The cynicism must stop, this cynicism is no longer tolerable," he said.
"Those who turn a blind eye and those who are complacent will bear the responsibility," he added.