Halt Aleppo massacre, leaders urge Syria

 

World leaders tonight called on President Bashar Assad to stop the massacre of civilians in Syria's second city.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, flanked by Foreign Secretary William Hague, demanded a halt to the feared slaughter in Aleppo as government forces targeted the city.

Mr Hague warned of "a potential massacre" and said the worsening civil war could see the UK offer more help to rebel fighters battling to topple the regime.

Speaking in London, Mr Ban said: "I'm seriously concerned by the escalating violence in Aleppo.

"I urge the Syrian government to halt the offensive. The violence from both sides must stop for the sake of suffering civilians in Syria."

Mr Hague accused President Assad's men of launching "a vicious assault" on Aleppo - and urged Russia and China to join criticism of the attack.

The Foreign Secretary said: "This utterly unacceptable escalation of the conflict could lead to a devastating loss of civilian life and a humanitarian disaster.

"It will add to the misery being endured by the Syrian people and plunge the country further into catastrophic civil war.

"The Assad regime must call off this assault. I call on all countries around the world, including the permanent members of the Security Council, to join us in condemning these latest actions and to insist on a political process to end the violence in Syria.

"All those with influence on the Syrian regime should bring it to bear now. No nation should stand silent while people in Aleppo are threatened with a potential massacre."

Activists say 19,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising began last February as the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings swept the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr Hague, who met with Mr Ban at the Foreign Secretary's official London residence ahead of tonight's Olympics opening ceremony to promote the Olympic Truce spirit, said the "dire situation" in Aleppo showed why the UN Security Council should have agreed a resolution last week aimed at raising the pressure on President Assad.

The move crumbled when permanent members Russia and China vetoed the proposal - despite previously backing special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for the region.

"With Aleppo clearly about to be attacked, every country has a responsibility to reinforce that message, with or without a resolution of the Security Council," said Mr Hague.

He spoke of his "extreme frustration" that the resolution failed, saying: "That would really have placed great pressure on the Syrian regime.

"It was the right thing to do and would have made a big difference if it had been adopted.

"We will continue in the UK to support every means of bringing about a peaceful resolution and transition in Syria."

Mr Hague said that included offering more help to rebel fighters, warning: "I want them to know in the Assad regime that the more they do this sort of thing the more we will increase the practical support we give to opposition movements in Syria."

Mr Ban called on the five permanent Security Council members to show "strong leadership" and take "primary responsibility" for tackling the crisis.

He added: "We should show a sense of duty (and) solidarity in the name of humanity."

David Cameron also urged the Syrian regime to "stop what it is doing".

After talks with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister said they discussed "the very real concerns we have that the regime is about to carry out some truly appalling acts in and around the city of Aleppo".

Mr Cameron added: "This would be completely unacceptable, this regime needs to recognise it is illegitimate, it's wrong, it needs to stop what it is doing and the international pressure against this regime, against Assad, is only going to build until he finally goes."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?