On Saturday night, Russia blocked a UN Security Council declaration of alarm over the siege of the Syrian town of Qusair by Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas, diplomats told RTE News.
Britain, the president of the council, had circulated a draft statement expressing “grave concern about the situation in Qusair, Syria, and in particular the impact on civilians of the ongoing fighting.”
Qusair, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, is home to some 30,000 people. The fighting for control of the town has been on for the past two weeks, with brutal consequences to the civilian population.
The Security Council statements must be agreed to unanimously, and Russia on Saturday night blocked the draft text, saying it was “not advisable to speak out as the UN Security Council didn’t know when Qusair was taken by the opposition,” a council diplomat said on condition of anonymity. A second diplomat confirmed the text of the Russian remarks.
Russia’s move to veto the statement is the latest example of the yawning gap between Russia and the Western nations on the two-year-old Syrian civil war, which so far has killed between 80 and 100 thousand people.