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Rivaling Syria peace resolutions vetoed in UNSC

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin chairs a Security Council meeting on a French-Spanish resolution on Syria at the UN headquarters, October 8, 2016, in New York City. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has vetoed a French-drafted UNSC resolution calling for the immediate halting of anti-terror airstrikes in Syria’s Aleppo.

Moscow vetoed the draft on Sunday, stressing that it did not sufficiently address the problem of militants being interwoven with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorists (formerly known as the al-Nusra Front).

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that halting airstrikes “provides cover to terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra” and other militant groups allied with them. 

Venezuela also voted against the draft, while China and Angola abstained and the rest of the members voted for it.

Syria's Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja'afari also slammed the resolution while accusing certain members of the council of rushing to aid the terrorists as soon as gains are made against them. He also stressed that the carnage in Syria is caused by foreign terrorists.

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari waits for a vote on a draft resolution that demands an immediate end to airstrikes and military flights over Syria's Aleppo city, at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, October 8, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has been divided since 2012 between government forces in the west and foreign-backed terrorists in the east, making it a frontline battleground.

A separate resolution, initially proposed by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and presented by Russia, was also rejected by the council. It called for the Syrian government to allow the departure of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham forces from eastern Aleppo.  

Earlier, Russian envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, had said that all members of the council know that neither of the drafts would be approved during the Saturday meeting.

Ahead of the vote, French President Francois Hollande called on council members not to use their veto power against the French resolution.

Smoke rises from Bustan al-Basha neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, October 5, 2016. (Reuters)

"I want to believe that tonight, when the resolution will be presented to the Security Council, no country will oppose it and notably that none of the permanent members will use their veto," he said.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy over the past five and a half years, which has claimed the lives of around 400,000 people. In recent months, the Takfiri militants have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas.

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