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UN warns of 'lethal escalation' in Syria

Civilian deaths and injuries in Syria revealed a "monstrous disregard for civilian lives by all parties to the conflict", and warned of "military build-ups indicating preparations for a lethal escalation," a UN human rights chief said today.

"In the opposition-controlled part of Aleppo over the past few days, pro-government aircrafts have destroyed a key hospital and other medical facilities reportedly killing a number of medical personnel, including the only remaining paediatrician in the area, as well as many patients. In the government-controlled part of Aleppo, another hospital was struck and many civilians killed in attacks launched in a number of neighbourhoods," the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein said in a statement.

"The violence is soaring back to the levels we saw prior to the cessation of hostilities. There are deeply disturbing reports of military build-ups indicating preparations for a lethal escalation," he said.

"In the context of such an abysmal situation, the persistent failure of the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court is an example of the most shameful form of realpolitik."

"The cessation of hostilities and the Geneva talks were the only game in town, and if they are abandoned now, I dread to think how much more horror we will see in Syria."

The UN envoy on Syria yesterday appealed for a US and Russian initiative "at the highest level" to end the Syria crisis, saying the truce was "in great danger" and "could collapse any time" as continued violence was "killing one Syrian every 25 minutes".

Germany also strongly condemned Wednesday's airstrike that targeted a field hospital in Aleppo and accused the Bashar Al-Assad regime of undermining the ceasefire.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said today: "This attack does not only risk further escalation of fights around Aleppo but also threatens the ceasefire and the future of the hard-won Geneva process."

He called for an end to attacks that target civilians and hospitals.

"Systematic starvation and denial of medical assistance are methods of war that are especially used by the Syrian regime. This constitutes a blatant violation of international humanitarian law," he stressed.

Seibert also called on Russia to use its influence on Assad regime.

"We also see Russia, as the supporter of the regime in Damascus, under obligation not to let the ceasefire and the political process collapse," he stressed.

Europe & RussiaGermanyInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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