US implores the UN to assure humanitarian-aid reaches Aleppo

The United States said that the UN Security Council must not allow civilians on both sides of the Syrian city of Aleppo to be cut off from humanitarian aid. Insurgents effectively broke a month-long government siege of eastern Aleppo, held by opposition-rebels, severing the primary government supply corridor and raising the prospect that government-held Western Aleppo might become besieged. “As we meet, humanitarian access to Eastern Aleppo remains cut off by fighting; and it is possible that it will become difficult to get humanitarian aid to tens or even hundreds of thousands more people in Western Aleppo. If the fighting continues, it is conceivable that civilians on both sides of Aleppo could be cut off from the basic assistance they need. We cannot allow this to happen,” said Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations. The United States, Britain, France, New Zealand and Ukraine organized an informal Security Council meeting on Aleppo. Citing UN figures, Power said Syrian government forces were to blame for nearly 80 percent of the besieged areas throughout Syria.

Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the outbreak of the conflict five years ago, has been divided between government forces and rebels since the summer of 2012. “The fighting of the past few days confirms what we have known for a very long time – despite the overwhelming force of the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah on one side – neither side will be able to win a swift or decisive victory in the battle for Aleppo. Yet the longer the fighting drags on, more civilians will be caught in the middle, and more of them will pay the highest price,” continued Power. Since the beginning of the conflict in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria, more than half a million people have been killed and millions have been displaced from their homes to neighboring countries and beyond.