French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (pictured left) and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov enter a hall during a meeting in Moscow on October 6, 2016. Credit Vasily Maximov, AFP
“I met Sergei Lavrov to tell him face to face that .”
‘THIS LEVEL OF VIOLENCE HAS NEVER BEFORE BEEN REACHED’, SAYS AYRAULT
Tensions between Russia and the West have spiked after the United States suspended talks over a ceasefire on Monday in protest at Moscow stepping up its air campaign in support of a ferocious offensive against rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Ayrault is heading to Washington on Friday as he tries to garner support for a UN resolution on a truce in Aleppo and allow humanitarian aid in to the battered city.
Despite Russia earlier signalling its unwillingness to support the proposal, Lavrov said that Moscow is “ready to work on this text” provided it does not contradict the US-Russia ceasefire agreement or other UN resolutions.
‘RUSSIA AND [SYRIA] ARE READY TO FULFIL THEIR PART OF THE AGREEMENTS’, SAYS LAVROV
UN’s Syria envoy on Thursday warned eastern Aleppo could be “totally destroyed” by year’s end, and called on the government to halt strikes if jihadist fighters left the city, even offering to escort them out himself.
Lavrov insisted that the international community should pay attention to the “residents in all of Aleppo and not just in the eastern part”.
He also said that Russia has sent air defence systems to Syria to provide “reliable security” for Russian forces in the country.
Aleppo: United Nations Negotiator Staffan de Mistura offers to personally escort Islamist fighters out of city to halt bombing
The whole of rebel-held eastern Aleppo could be destroyed by Christmas if the “cruel, constant” Russian-backed bombing of the Syrian city continues, the UN special envoy for Syria has warned.
In a passionate and personal appeal from Geneva on Thursday, Staffan de Mistura said the scale of human tragedy in the besieged part of the city was huge, and the world needed to avert “another Srebrenica, another Rwanda”.
He said he was willing to go personally to eastern Aleppo to escort up to 1,000 Islamist fighters out of the city if it would mean a halt to the bombardment by Russian and Syrian forces.
History would judge Syria and Russia harshly, he added, if they used the presence of about 900 former Jabhat al-Nusra fighters as an “easy alibi” to destroy the besieged area and kill thousands of the 275,000 citizens – approximately 100,000 of whom are children.
“The bottom line is in a maximum of two months, two and a half months, the city of eastern Aleppo at this rate may be totally destroyed, and thousands of Syrian civilians, not terrorists, will be killed, many wounded and thousands will be refugees seeking to escape,” he said.
He added: “The writing on the wall is if this continues to be the pattern, at this rate this cruel, constant use of military activities, bombing, fighting, destruction will continue.”
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Aleppo — People walk past damaged buildings in the Tariq al-Bab district. Photograph by Abdalrhman Ismail, Reuters
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