Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:27PM
This AFP file photo taken on April 7, 2017 shows US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, at the UN headquarters in New York.
This AFP file photo taken on April 7, 2017 shows US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, at the UN headquarters in New York.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has urged the UN Security Council to put pressure on Russia to make Moscow stop supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Many of you said we need to put pressure over the Syrian regime. That’s actually not the case, we need to put pressure on Russia because Russia continues to cover for the Syrian regime," Haley told a Security Council meeting on Thursday.

"I will continue to press the Security Council to act, to do something, regardless of if the Russians continue to veto it because it is our voice that needs to be heard," she said.

"All eyes and all pressure now need to go to Russia, because they are the ones who could stop this if they wanted to."

Responding to Haley's remarks, Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev told the UN Security Council that Russia, Turkey and Iran were working to uphold a ceasefire in Syria to allow delivery of humanitarian aid.

"Neither you nor your Western colleagues said a single word about what you are doing to improve the situation," Iliichev said of Haley.

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The UN is working to bring the Syrian government and the armed opposition groups back to Geneva next month for a new round of peace talks on ending the conflict despite little progress in previous negotiations.

Russia, along with Iran, has been assisting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.

The conflict has left more than 470,000 Syrians dead and half of the country’s population of about 23 million displaced within or beyond the Arab country’s borders.

The United States has about 500 special troops in Syria, mainly advising and assisting US-backed militants and Kurdish forces there.

President Donald Trump ruled out sending more troops to Syria earlier this month following a massive missile attack on a Syrian airfield that raised fears of an invasion.

The US has been carrying out airstrikes against purported Daesh positions in Syria since 2014, without a UN mandate or permission from Damascus.