France calling for UNSC meeting on Aleppo to divert attention from Mosul – Russian UN envoy

A member of Iraqi special forces carries an injured girl from clashes in Mosul, Iraq, November 29, 2016. © Khalid al Mousily
The French call for an emergency UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Aleppo is an attempt to distract attention from humanitarian issues of the Western-backed operation in the Iraqi city of Mosul, said Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN.

Paris is pushing for the meeting in order to “distract attention from what is going on in Mosul where the situation – in many respects, including humanitarian – is much more dramatic than in eastern Aleppo,” Churkin told reporters.

“With all the gravity of the situation [in eastern Aleppo] – where you have fighting going on – it has some indication of improvement,” he added.

The envoy also called the French initiative an attempt “to accuse the Syrian government and Russia of something, especially, at the time when the Syrian authorities launch a counter-offensive in an attempt trying to regain control of some territories.”

Earlier this week, the Syrian Army captured a large part of northeast Aleppo. The city has been spilt between the government and the militants, including Al-Qaeda off-shoot Jabhat al-Nusra, since the start of the conflict in 2011.

The successful operation allowed humanitarian relief to be brought to tens of thousands of civilians and curbed the terrorists’ ability to prevent people from fleeing the besieged area.

READ MORE: Top US-led coalition general says ‘no timeline set for Mosul victory,’ calls for patience

Churkin also lashed out at recent claim by US State Department spokesman John Kirby, who said that “literally thousands of people every day die, are injured” in Aleppo due to the actions of the Syrian government, for which “Russia bears full responsibility.”

“This is outrageous… shameless propaganda” by the State Department, Churkin said, adding that Washington never backs up its claims with concrete facts.

The Russian envoy said that the strategic Castello Road can now be used without restriction for humanitarian aid deliveries to Aleppo.

“There’s no need for discussions. As soon as the humanitarian workers are ready, they may start using the Castello Road,” he said.

Despite those developments, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for an urgent Security council meeting on Aleppo to “put in place means to end the hostilities and to allow humanitarian aid to get through unhindered.”

According to French UN Envoy Francois Delattre, the meeting will be convened before the end of Wednesday. 

READ MORE: Chaos in Mosul as locals scramble to get food from aid trucks (VIDEOS)

On Tuesday, UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani has again addressed the deteriorating situation in Mosul where Iraqi forces, supported by the US-led coalition, launched a large-scale offensive against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in mid-October.

The civilians in Mosul “are effectively [being] used as human shields, placed squarely in harm’s way, caught between ISIL and Iraqi Security Force fire responding to rocket and sniper attacks,” Shamdasani stressed.

The UN continues to receive reports of jihadists executing people who refuse to cooperate with them or support the Iraqi government, she said.   

“On 11 November, ISIL reportedly shot and killed 12 civilians in the Bakir neighborhood in eastern Mosul city for allegedly refusing to allow ISIL to install and launch rockets from the rooftops of their houses,” the spokeswoman stressed. 

Last Friday, the terrorists reportedly staged a public execution of 27 civilians in Mosul’s Muhandiseen Park, Shamdasani added.

On November 22, an Islamic State sniper killed a seven-year-old child who was running toward the positions of the Iraqi forces in the Adan neighborhood, she said.