US prepared to act unilaterally on Syria
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has warned that if the Security Council fails to act on Syria, Washington is ready “to act if we must,” just as it did last year when it bombed a Syrian government air base over allegations of chemical weapons attack.
Haley’s comments on Monday are to back a draft resolution circulated at the council earlier in the day that demands an immediate 30-day ceasefire in Damascus and eastern Ghouta, where Syrian forces are targeting terrorist groups which are shelling the capital.
“It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again… When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action,” Haley told the 15-member Security Council, stressing that a cease-fire resolution adopted by the Security Council two weeks ago “has failed.”
UN Resolution 2401, which was unanimously passed by the Security Council on February 24, called on the parties to the Syrian conflict to stop all hostilities and adhere to a humanitarian pause across Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as medical evacuations for those injured.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefed the council on Monday on the implementation of the resolution but Russia has said the ceasefire could not be imposed by the Security Council without a deal between the warring parties, while Damascus argues that a ceasefire ordered by the UN Security Council protects members of terrorist groups in eastern Ghouta.
“There has been no cessation of hostilities,” Guterres said. “Violence continues in eastern Ghouta and beyond — including in Afrin, parts of Idlib and into Damascus and its suburbs… No sieges have been lifted … To our knowledge, not one critically sick or wounded person has yet been evacuated.”
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said some countries were accusing the Syrian government of carrying our chemical weapons attacks in a bid to “prepare the ground for the unilateral use of force against sovereign Syria,” adding that Damascus has “every right to try and remove the threat to the safety of its citizens”, describing the militant-held Eastern Ghouta, near the capital, as a “hotbed of terrorism.”
For the past several years, the flashpoint enclave, home to some 400,000 people, has been under the control of multiple foreign-backed terror groups, particularly the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri outfit and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, which have practically captivated the civilians and use them as human shield against the government’s liberating forces.
The Syrian army troops, backed by pro-government forces, have launched a full-scale offensive to crush the terror outfits, which constantly launch mortar attacks against residential neighborhoods in and around Damascus, killing and wounding dozens of people.
Furthermore, the Ghouta-based militants are trying to prevent civilians from leaving the enclave as they constantly target the safe passages of al-Wafideen and Jisreen with shells and explosive bullets, killing a number of people so far.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.
According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around 511,000 people have been killed in Syria since the onset of the foreign-backed militancy some seven years ago. It added in its Monday’s report that it had succeeded in identifying only more than 350,000 of those killed.