Charlie Flanagan reaffirms Ireland's support to help end Syrian conflict

The UN Security Council meets today to discuss the worsening situation

Charlie Flanagan reaffirms Ireland's support to help end Syrian conflict

Minister Charlie Flanagan addresses the general debate of the General Assembly's seventy-first session | Image: UN Photo/Cia Pak

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has reaffirmed Ireland's support to help end the conflict in Syria.

Speaking Saturday at the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Flanagan said: "The horrific human toll of the grinding conflict in Syria mounts daily and many countries in the region and far beyond are grappling with the large-scale displacement of people that this conflict has created.

"Six years into the horrific conflict in Syria, Ireland reaffirms its full support the tireless efforts of the UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to bring about an end to the devastating conflict through dialogue and diplomacy."

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is meeting to discuss the worsening situation in the besieged city of Aleppo.

More than 100 people are reported to have been killed since the Syrian army started a new push to take control of rebel held areas.

And some two million are said to be without water.

Minister Charlie Flanagan addresses the UN General Assembly | Image via @dfatirl on Twitter

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said it is 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," said a statement issued by Mr Ban's spokesperson in New York.

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.

"Simply left to die"

The statement 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.

Mr. Ban'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".

He 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".

Meanwhile hospitals supported by medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in eastern Aleppo have reported significant increases in the numbers of wounded patients, following days of relentless bombing on the besieged city.

MSF says it is deeply concerned about the effects on civilians of the bombing campaign, and the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas in a city suffocating under the effects of the siege.

"People in Aleppo already suffocating under the effects of the siege, have yet again come under horrific attack",Carlos Francisco, MSF head of mission in Syria, said on Friday.

"No aid, including urgent medical supplies is allowed to enter. We are deeply worried by the high numbers of wounded reported by the hospitals we support, and also know that in many areas the wounded and sick have nowhere to go at all - they are simply left to die."