Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Raqqa devastated, ‘de-facto occupied & run by a gang of incompetents’ : Russia’s UN envoy

Raqqa devastated
The US and its allies are doing practically nothing to help rebuild Raqqa, which is de-facto occupied, Russia’s UN Ambassador told the UNSC, after a UN representative reported on the mass-scale devastation of the Syrian city.

On average, an estimated 50 people a week are being killed in Raqqa, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), noting that virtually nothing is being done for some 100,000 repatriates who have returned to the destroyed city.

“Conditions are not conducive for return, due to a high level of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive device (IED) contamination, and widespread and severe infrastructural damage and the lack of basic services,” Mark Lowcock said, reporting on the UN team’s findings after its April 1 visit to the Syrian city. “Up to 95 percent of households who have returned to Raqqa are food-insecure. Health services are lacking or severely limited.”

Noting that between 70-80 percent of buildings in Raqqa are “destroyed or damaged,” Lowcock called on the countries to act and help the residents of the city once proclaimed as the unofficial capital of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist caliphate and later “liberated” by the US-led international coalition.

  The situation in Raqqa, destroyed during a four-month battle that ended in October 2017, remains “disastrous,” Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday, after Moscow requested holding an open UN Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Raqqa and the Rukban refugee camp on the border with Jordan.

“Rebuilding the city that was destroyed by airstrikes is not taking place. People have been returning at their own risk and are often being killed by mines and IEDs,” Nebenzya noted, reaffirming the observations voiced by Lowcock.

“American occupation hasn’t brought anything positive to the inhabitants. The only effective solution to the current situation is to reestablish state structures in Raqqa,” the envoy added, noting that people in the “de-facto occupied territory” have started to protest against the US presence there.

The city, recaptured by the Syrian Democratic Forces, is now under the loose control of the US-supported militias. Reconstruction of Raqqa and its suburbs is being carried out through a network of local councils, which Nebenzia called a gang of “completely incompetent people.”

“How can we entrust them with people’s safety and security?” he asked. “Raqqa is in ruins. Literally, there isn't a building left standing. Thousands of bodies are still buried under the ruins.”

The Russian ambassador condemned the American-led intervention in Syria, noting that the April 14 strikes by the US-France-UK “troika” only set back the reconciliation process in a country ravished by a seven-year-old war. Moscow believes that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that countries must work together to aid the peace process.

“By their acts of aggression, the troika, and those who supported or welcomed their actions considerably set back Geneva negotiations,” the diplomat said. “If the goal is to force the Syrian President under a hail of bombs to sit at the negotiation table, presented as a victory over him...such a task is not feasible...there should be no illusions.”

1 comment :

  1. Russia shows no interest in new UNSC draft resolution on Syria...

    Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia on Tuesday branded a new draft Security Council resolution on Syria, which was circulated by France, Britain and the United States, as "untimely and unnecessary."

    The draft was circulated among the 15 members of the Security Council on Saturday and negotiations began on Monday.

    But Nebenzia showed no interest at all. "At first glance, (the draft is) untimely and unnecessary," he told reporters on Tuesday.

    Russian representatives were present at the first round of negotiations "just to hear," but believed the effort was not timely, he said.

    "On Friday they waged an aggression against Syria, on Saturday they came with a political solution, don't you think it's funny?" he asked, in reference to the missile strikes carried out by the three countries on Syria.


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