France, U.K., U.S. call for UN meeting on lifting Syrian sieges

The United States, France and Britain called Thursday for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to press Syria's warring parties to lift sieges on towns where hundreds of thousands have been cut off from aid and reports of starvation have emerged.

See Full Article

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also stepped up the pressure, calling for both the Syrian government and rebels to end the sieges before peace talks scheduled for Jan. 25 in Geneva as a confidence-building measure.

Ban said the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are able to deliver food to only 1 per cent of the 400,000 people under siege in Syria, down from an already dismal 5 per cent just over a year ago.

"This is utterly unconscionable," Ban said at a news conference.

Ban said both the Syrian government and rebels are committing war crimes by deliberately starving civilians and must face justice.

"UN teams have witnessed scenes that haunt the soul. The elderly and children, men and women, who were little more than skin and bones: gaunt, severely malnourished, so weak they could barely walk, and utterly desperate for the slightest morsel," Ban said. "I would say that they are being held hostage -- but it is even worse. Hostages get fed."

France's UN mission said a request for an emergency meeting was made Thursday to Uruguay, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency. Britain's mission said the meeting was requested for Friday afternoon, but it has not yet been scheduled.

Trucks from the UN and other humanitarian organizations entered three besieged communities in Syria this week for the first time in months.

The town of Madaya has been under siege for months by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. The two other towns, Foua and Kfarya, have been besieged by Syrian rebels.

"Let me be clear: the use of the starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime," Ban said. "All sides, including the Syrian government, which has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians, are committing this and other atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law."

In a speech to the General Assembly earlier Thursday, Ban said all sides must be held accountable. He told reporters later that it would be up to the Security Council to decide whether to refer the matter the International Criminal Court. Such efforts have been vetoed in the past by Russia, an ally of the Assad government.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump revives 'Pocahontas' insult of Elizabeth Warren

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- President Donald Trump revived one of his favourite -- and most provocative -- taunts against Elizabeth Warren on Friday, derisively calling the Massachusetts senator "Pocahontas." Trump mocked Warren repeatedly during the presidential campaign for claims she made about being part Native American. Source
  • Man who worked at Alberta daycare accused of possessing child porn

    Canada News CTV News
    WETASKIWIN, Alta. -- A 40-year-old man who worked at a daycare has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. The Internet Child Exploitation unit says they want to speak with families who may have used Tykes and Tots Day Home in Wetaskiwin. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end'

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source
  • U.S. seeks tough North Korea action, but China shows no inclination

    World News Toronto Sun
    Turning to diplomacy after flexing military muscle, the United States will urge the U.N. Security Council on Friday to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, leaning on China in particular to turn the screws on its wayward ally. Source
  • Serial killer James Dale Ritchie murdered 4 more

    World News Toronto Sun
    James Dale Ritchie died on the snowy streets of Anchorage, Alaska, with a .357 Colt Python still clutched in his hand. Ritchie, 40, drew the losing hand in a shootout with cops on Nov. 12. Now, detectives have linked the “super intelligent” Ritchie to four more homicides. Source
  • Police are now investigating after protesters swarm cars at dinner event hosted by Sask. Premier Brad Wall

    Canada News CBC News
    Police are now investigating after hundreds of protesters swarmed cars outside the Premier's dinner in Saskatoon. "We're asking people to provide us with info, if they have it, and are looking into the actions of protesters," Saskatoon Police said via Twitter on Friday. Source
  • Dubai dad tries to kidnap lesbian daughter

    World News Toronto Sun
    A homophobic father tricked his lesbian daughter and her gal pal into venturing into the dangerous Middle East – where he stole their passports. The two British women were then stranded in a Turkish detention centre as the father’s attempt to kidnap his daughter and keep her in the Middle East failed. Source
  • Liberals 'doubly committed' to tackling marriage fraud while ending 2-year spousal residency rule

    Canada News CBC News
    Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the federal government is clamping down on marriage fraud even as it scraps a two-year co-habitation requirement for newcomers sponsored by their spouses. Hussen said the conditional permanent residency, which was brought in by the Conservatives in 2012, was leaving some women in harmful domestic situations. Source
  • Flyer campaign targets NDP candidate's transgender identity

    Canada News CBC News
    The NDP candidate for Vancouver-False Creek says she's concerned about the impact of a set of flyers distributed in her riding targeting her transgender identity and the LGBTQ community in general. The flyers — distributed throughout Yaletown — target NDP candidate Morgane Oger by purporting to reveal her male birth name and old photograph. Source
  • N. Korea official: U.S. efforts to rid nukes a ‘wild dream’

    World News Toronto Sun
    North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador said Friday that U.S. efforts to get rid of his country’s nuclear weapons through military threats and sanctions are “a wild dream.” Kim In Ryong told The Associated Press that North Korea’s nuclear weapons are never part of “political bargains and economic deals. Source