World cannot stay silent on crimes in Syria: French FM

World cannot stay silent on crimes in Syria: French FM
# 01 December 2016 21:53 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The world does not have a right to remain silent to the systematic and arbitrary crimes being committed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday, APA reports quoting Anadolu.

Speaking at an award ceremony in Berlin to present the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights, Ayrault voiced concern over the Syrian regime’s heavy bombardment of Aleppo.

"The international community often turns a blind eye, but in light of these massacres we do not have a right to remain silent,” he said.

Ayrault praised the work of the White Helmets, a group of volunteer rescue workers in Syria, this year’s winner of the special Franco-German human rights prize.

"Syrian White Helmets fight for human dignity in a total war where civilians have become the victims of a repression that does not end,” Ayraul said.

“You remind us that human rights are not reserved to just a few people, you remind us that universal rights are universal, and indivisible,” he added.

Within the last two weeks, some 700 civilians have reportedly been killed in eastern Aleppo amid persistent attacks by the regime and its allies.

International organizations ‘paralyzed’

Ayrault accused the Syrian regime of committing systematic and arbitrary crimes there, and promised that France, together with Germany, will continue to mobilize the world to end these crimes.

The top French diplomat renewed his criticism of Russia, an ally of the al-Assad regime, for blocking initiatives at the UN Security Council to end the bloodshed in Syria.

"Sometimes we see that the international organizations are paralyzed, and this is happening at the moment,” he said.

“When we make concrete proposals to protect the civilian population, the Russians threaten a veto, for example,” he added.

Ayrault said that France will continue to argue to limit the veto powers of the UN Security Council’s permanent members when there has been a mass atrocity.

Speaking after the award ceremony, before a trip to Lebanon, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Russia to use its influence over the al-Assad regime for a cease-fire in eastern Aleppo, in order to provide urgent humanitarian aid to the civilian population in besieged areas.

“Nobody can deny the supply of vital aid to the people who are struggling to survive,” Steinmeier said.

“Especially those countries that support the [Bashar] al-Assad regime, such as Russia, have a clear responsibility,” he stressed.

Syrian regime forces have recently stepped up their attacks on opposition-held parts of eastern Aleppo in an effort to retake the city and advance on Idlib, one of the Syrian opposition’s last strongholds.

The fierce bombardments have forced hospitals and other medical facilities in the war-battered city to cease operations.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.