UN Chief Lays Responsibility With Syrian Regime
Syrian rebels began a major operation in Aleppo Friday aiming to strike security compounds and bases of regime forces. According to Bassem Mroue of the Associated Press, “It would be evidence that weeks of intense bombardments by the Syrian military, including airstrikes, have failed to dislodge the rebels.” As the rebel offensive gets underway, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon met with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi in Tehran, urging him to end the fighting in Syria, “with the primary responsibility resting on the government to halt its use of heavy weapons.” Ban said that he laid out his plan for an end to the violence, adding, “What is important at this time is that all the parties must stop the violence. All those actors who may be providing arms to both sides… must stop.”
Meanwhile, France plans to aid Syria’s rebel-held “liberated zones” so that they can begin governing themselves and prevent the further flow of refugees. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said they had identified areas in the north and south outside the control of the Assad regime, creating a chance for those communities to regain a sense of normalcy, without feeling they have to flee. According to Reuters, It was not clear how Fabius’s promise to allocate much of its future 5 million euros in aid to these areas would protect civilians and deter them from fleeing.
Finally, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday that the living conditions for Syrians is deteriorating quickly as killing continues and food and other basic needs become increasingly difficult to obtain. The ICRC has been unable to send out convoys of supplies in recent weeks because of security concerns. “The situation in many parts of Syria is currently edging towards irreversible deterioration. Assisting the fast-growing number of needy people is a top priority,” said ICRC spokesman, Hicham Hassan.