Russia’s Actions In Syria Need To Be Made Accountable


 

Russia has been strongly accused of war crimes based largely on the accusation of the widespread use of bunker-busting and incendiary bombs on the 275,000 civilians living in Aleppo, Syria.

During the emergency security council session on Syria, United Kingdom ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft,  stated that “Bunker-busting bombs, more suited to destroying military installations, are now destroying homes, decimating bomb shelters, crippling, maiming, killing dozens, if not hundreds,” and directly called out Russia saying  “Incendiary munitions, indiscriminate in their reach, are being dropped on to civilian areas so that, yet again, Aleppo is burning. And to cap it all, water supplies, so vital to millions, are now being targeted, depriving water to those most in need. In short, it is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.”

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has called out Russia’s action and labelled them as potential war crimes referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, stating that: “Putin’s regime is not just handing Assad the revolver; he is in some instances firing the revolver. The Russians themselves are actually engaged.”

The Guardian reports that Johnson, however, has also acknowledged the West’s failure to place pressure on Russia since 2013 with a viable military strategy.

The Guardian also reported that at the “UN in New York, the UK and other western countries failed to reach an agreement with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, on the terms of a renewed ceasefire in Aleppo. Russian and Syrian warplanes are continuing to assault rebel positions in the east of the city, resulting in water shortages  and multiple deaths.”

This speaks to a bigger issues. In a report released earlier by the OWP, the UN system has been called into question. A significant problem is “the use of an outdated UN system that that caters predominantly to the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and France.”

The UN and other major powers have made a major step in the right direction by demonstrating that they are aware of Russia’s actions but they need to continue the pressure if they are to ever hope of improving the fragile conditions in Syria. Russia, and any other major power, must be held accountable for their actions. Civilian losses in Aleppo are reaching staggering proportions with Save the Children quoting doctors in Aleppo as saying that about half the casualties in the city were children. Action needs to be taken and it needs to be taken now.

Further Reading:

Is The UN An Active Contributor To The North-South Divide? – https://theowp.org/reports/is-the-un-an-active-contributor-to-the-north-south-divide/

At Security Council, UN envoy appeals for Russia and US cooperation to pull Syria ‘away from the brink – //www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55113#.V-iDi_l96Uk

The Guardian Articles – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/25/russia-accused-war-crimes-syria-un-security-council-aleppo and https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/25/boris-johnson-russia-could-be-guilty-war-crimes-syria

Annemarie Lewis