A Russian resolution calling for a separation of moderate and extremist forces in Syria but making no mention of a bombing halt in the besieged city of Aleppo has been defeated in the UN Security Council.
The draft, put forward by Russia late yesterday, failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required.
In today’s vote, the draft resolution got four “yes” votes, nine “no” votes and two abstentions.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft called the resolution “a sham” that would do nothing to protect civilians being killed in Aleppo.
The UN Security Council will vote today on rival Syria resolutions sponsored by France and Russia and both are virtually certain to be vetoed, leaving the war-ravaged country and the besieged city of Aleppo engulfed in conflict and key powers deeply divided.
Russia’s last minute introduction of a rival resolution yesterday afternoon took Western supporters of the French draft by surprise.
Several diplomats privately called it a brilliant move by Moscow because it will force Western powers to veto as well.
So instead of Russia alone being put in a negative spotlight for vetoing the French resolution demanding an end to the bombing campaign by Syrian and Russian aircraft in Aleppo, the Western powers are highly likely to veto the Russian draft because it makes no mention of a bombing halt.
As a result, the votes today afternoon, first on the French draft and then on the Russian proposal, are expected to exacerbate tensions between Moscow and the West over the Syrian conflict that has raged for more than five years, killing over 300,000 people.
The rival resolutions can also be defeated if they don’t get the minimum nine “yes” votes in the 15-member Security Council.
Since the collapse of the US-Russia-brokered cease-fire two weeks ago, the situation in Syria has dramatically deteriorated, with both countries escalating their rhetoric and actions.
Russia’s military warned the US on Thursday against striking the Syrian army, stressing that Russian air defense weapons in Syria stand ready to fend off any attack.
US Secretary of State John Kerry stepped up the West’s attack yesterday morning, calling for Russian and Syrian military strikes against civilians and medical facilities in Syria to be investigated as war crimes.
France circulated its draft resolution a week ago, saying it wanted the council to unite behind it. But negotiations never got Russia on board and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s visit to Moscow this week didn’t either.