UN chief laments ‘dark day’ for civilian protection as bombing of Aleppo intensifies

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon bids farewell to United Nations

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25 (APP): Amid reports of raging battles in and around war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called this a ‘dark day’ for the global commitment to protect civilians, and stressed that the use of ‘bunker buster’ bombs and other indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.

“The Secretary-General is appalled by the chilling military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict,” a statement issued Saturday by Ban’s spokesperson in New York said.

Since the announcement two days ago by the Syrian Army of an offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, there have been repeated reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker buster bombs, according the statement.

“The Secretary-General underlines that the apparent systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes,” it added.

Emphasizing that the UN chief considers this a ‘dark day’ for the global commitment to protect civilians, statements says the international community has to unite to send a clear message that it will not tolerate the use of indiscriminate and ever-more deadly and powerful weapons against civilians.

The secretary-general’s call comes just days after a ministerial level meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria, where he said the five-year conflict, which has killed some 300,000 people, is at ‘a make or break moment,’ and challenged the Council to use its influence ‘now to restore a cessation of hostilities, enable humanitarian assistance everywhere it is needed, and support the United Nations in charting a political path for the Syrians to negotiate a way out of the hell in which they are trapped.’