France, UK call for end to ‘disastrous’ Aleppo siege

July 28, 2016 4:53 pm
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Syrian army soldiers patrol the area around the entrance of Bani Zeid after taking control of the previously rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, on July 28, 2016 © AFP / George Ourfalian

, Paris, France, Jul 28 – French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his British counterpart Boris Johnson called Thursday for the Syrian regime and its allies to end their “disastrous” siege on the city of Aleppo.

“The ministers solemnly called upon the Syrian regime’s allies to bring an immediate end to these operations which violate the truce agreed in Munich, and international law,” they said in a joint statement after a meeting in Paris.

The consequences of the siege, “including the bombardment of civilians and medical facilities, are already disastrous and could generate further refugees,” the statement said.

The ministers called for the cessation of hostilities agreement “to be fully and immediately restored, and for progress towards the establishment of a transitional authority with full executive powers”.

The ministers said the siege of the city where some 300,000 people are trapped “makes it impossible for peace negotiations to resume”.

“The ministers stressed that Russia in particular has a unique ability to persuade the Assad regime to end the war and return to the negotiating table,” the statement added.

More than 280,000 people have been killed in Syria since the war began in March 2011 with anti-government protests that were met with a brutal regime crackdown © AFP / George Ourfalian

Aleppo residents have reported food shortages and spiralling prices in rebel-held districts since regime forces cut off the opposition’s main supply route into the city earlier this month.

The call by Paris and London came as Russia announced a “large-scale” aid operation for the trapped civilians and opposition fighters fleeing Aleppo, while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered an amnesty to rebels who surrender.

Syria’s UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said this week he hopes peace talks aimed at ending the war could resume at the end of August.

More than 280,000 people have been killed in Syria since the war began in March 2011 with anti-government protests that were met with a brutal regime crackdown.

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