The leader of Syria's one-time colonial ruler has demanded an end to the violence and carnage currently being endured by its citizens, telling the United Nations: “Enough is enough.”
In an impassioned delivery that ran over 20 minutes on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande blamed the Syrian regime for the collapse of a recently-brokered US-Russian ceasefire.
“The Syrian tragedy will be seen by history as a disgrace for the international community if we do not end it quickly,” he told the General Assembly in New York.
In a speech that also addressed other issues, including the challenge to different countries of confronting global terror, Mr Hollande said the city of Aleppo, which has once again come under a barrage of air strikes, as a “martyred city”.
“Thousands of children have died in bombings, whole populations are starving, humanitarian convoys are being attacked, chemical weapons are being used,” he said. “I have one thing to say here: enough is enough.”
The civil war in Syria, now in its sixth year. Anywhere up to 500,000 people are dead and millions have displaced or forced to flee. The situation there is dominating this week’s gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.
US President Barack Obama earlier took the podium to declare that diplomacy was the only way to end the devastating war. The US has dispatched US special forces to Syria and is supporting what it terms moderate rebels who are seeking to overthrow the government.
The AFP said that the United States and Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s ally in the war, earlier chaired a brief meeting of the 23-nation group backing the Syrian peace process, but that there was no breakthrough.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council was to meet to discuss the Syria crisis, with distrust between Washington and Moscow running high.
Addressing Russia and Iran, Mr Hollande said they must compel the regime to make peace, warning that “if not, they will also, alongside the regime, bear the responsibility for the division and chaos in Syria”.
“I say to the Syrian government’s foreign backers that they must compel the regime to enforce peace otherwise they will bear the responsibility for the splitting up of the country and the chaos,” he said.
Russia and Iran are the main foreign backers of Mr Assad and his government, while the US and UK are among those countries supporting rebel forces seeking to oust him.
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