West should abandon hostile rhetoric & take effective measures to help Syrians

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
A man works to rebuild a shop in the government-controlled al-Hamidiya neighbourhood of Homs, Syria. © Omar Sanadiki
There has been a lot of recent criticism containing groundless attacks on Russia coming from Western officials and mass media regarding the humanitarian situation in eastern Aleppo.

This has been accompanied by attempts to politicize the humanitarian issue in various forums, including the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council. We believe that these actions are counterproductive and do not serve to do anything but torpedo the fight against terrorism in Syria. It’s worth recalling that the current dire situation in Aleppo is a result of the US’ failure to comply with its obligations under the Russia-US agreements of September 9 to ensure the separation of the opposition from terrorists in order to provide a sustainable cessation of hostilities in Syria. Nothing whatsoever has been done by our Western partners in this regard.

According to reports, the total number of militants trapped in Aleppo amounts to 5.5-6 thousand fighters, with groups like Jabhat Al-Nusra, Ahrar ash-Sham, the Noureddine Zenki Movement, and Fastaqim Kama Umirt being the best equipped, organized, and active among them. Jabhat Al-Nusra leads the groups that are surrounded in eastern Aleppo via a joint command structure which coordinates all of their activities and movements.

Those concerned about the humanitarian situation in eastern Aleppo simply do not want to take notice of the suffering of the people in the Western part of the city, which is controlled by the Syrian Government. Meanwhile, the residential districts of Aleppo and Damascus, as well as other Syrian towns, continue to suffer from indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks carried out by militants. Civilians, including women and children, die every day as a result of such attacks and acts of sabotage against socially significant civilian infrastructure.

We believe that such attacks on Russia only hamper the achievement of the main goal: separating the outright terrorists from opposition groups in Aleppo, ensuring humanitarian access to the population of the whole of Aleppo, and immediately launching an inclusive political process in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2254 and the decisions of the ISSG.

The participants of the ministerial meeting in Lausanne have agreed to continue contacts aimed at negotiating arrangements that would help resume the ceasefire. All talk to the effect that the main thing now is to stop the hostilities in Aleppo looks like an attempt to “retouch” the situation while creeping towards exonerating Jabhat Al-Nusra, and all those cooperating with it, with the aim of leaving them in charge of eastern Aleppo.

Effective measures are urgently needed to assist all those in need in Syria, regardless of their beliefs or political affiliation. In the meantime, it seems that, in practical terms, almost no one except Russia, the UN, and a small number of countries wants to help the Syrians fight terrorism and solve their humanitarian problems.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.