Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations have called for the UN General Assembly to hold an emergency session on the situation in Syria, especially in Aleppo, in a joint statement issued on Sunday.
“The ongoing bloodshed in Syria and horrific humanitarian crisis in Aleppo warrants a call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to make recommendations on matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to because of a lack of unanimity,” the statement reads.
The four Islamic countries commended the letter from the Permanent Representatives of Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, the Netherlands and Togo in which they request on behalf of 74 member-states, the holding of a formal plenary meeting of the General Assembly, but noted that “an emergency special session highlights a particular emergency or crisis… which merits separate treatment by the General Assembly.”
The statement stressed that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, have become common, with no functional hospitals left in eastern Aleppo. According to the representatives, “such attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and according to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, may amount to war crimes.”
Syria’s civil war between government forces and a wide range of insurgents, including opposition groups and terrorists, such as Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (also known as the Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra), both outlawed in Russia, has raged for some five years and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. In November, Syrian government forces, supported by local militias, launched a large-scale offensive against extremist groups in the eastern part of Aleppo. The army made major strides earlier this week, liberating almost half of the militant-held areas by late Monday.