The UN General Assembly voted on Friday to adopt a non-binding resolution condemning the 15-member UN Security Council for failing to resolve the ongoing crisis in Syria, and voiced concerns over the escalation of violence in the unrest-hit Middle East nation.
The resolution, which was adopted by the General Assembly on Friday in a 133 to 12 vote with 31 abstentions, condemned "the failure of the Security Council to agree on measures to ensure the compliance of Syrian authorities with its decisions."
The measure also deplored the Syrian government's use of heavy weapons in the conflict and expressed "grave concern" at the escalation of violence in Syria in recent weeks. Notably, fighting is raging in Syria as diplomatic efforts continue to fail in halting the violence.
Reports from Syria indicate that the Syrian regime is using heavy weaponry as well as helicopter-gunships and fighter jets in the conflict, particularly in capital Damascus and the country's second largest city of Aleppo. Besides, the armed opposition groups seem to have procured advanced weapons, which are being currently used against Syrian security forces.
Opening Friday's General assembly session in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that the Syrian crisis is fast becoming 'proxy war' between the world powers. He also appealed to the major world powers to overcome their differences and make serious efforts to resolve the crisis.
The developments come a day after former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced his decision to quit as the joint UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria. Annan declared at a press conference in Geneva that his decision was prompted by the increasing militarization of the Syrian conflict as well as the lack of unity among the Security Council members in resolving the crisis.
As part of efforts to help resolve the crisis, Annan brokered a ceasefire and put forward a six-point peace plan. The plan called for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
His plan was initially accepted by the Syrian government and the opposition, but with little success in implementing it on the ground. Syrian rebel groups abandoned the plan altogether, citing continued killing of civilians by government forces as the cause.
Russia and China had used their veto powers consistently at the UNSC to block West-backed resolutions that would have threatened the Syrian regime with sanctions. Moscow and Beijing firmly oppose a forced regime change in Syria and are also against imposing UN sanctions on the regime. The two nations want the crisis to be resolved by diplomatic means.
The United States released $12 million in additional aid to Syria Thursday. The aid will be provided to various UN agencies and NGOs operating in Syria. Although Washington has consistently denied arming the Syrian rebels, the US media reported Thursday that President Barack Obama has signed a covert order authorizing support for the rebels.
The UN estimates more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. The opposition, however, claims the actual death toll to be closer to 20,000. The ongoing conflict in Syria is now viewed as a civil war by most of the international community.
by RTT Staff Writer
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