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US, Russia trade barbs over Syria conflict

dpa logodpa 13/12/2016 Emoke Bebiak

United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura says the carnage in Aleppo should be seen as a "tragic opportunity" to return to political talks.

The US ambassador to the UN says the Syrian government and its allies are behind "the conquest of and carnage in Aleppo".

Samantha Power told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Syria, Russia and Iran are responsible for what UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke called the "complete meltdown of humanity" and are showing no mercy to civilians on the ground.

"Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?" Power asked.

"Is there no act of barbarism, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing that you will not lie about or justify?"

Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin shot back at Power, saying she delivered a statement "as if she was Mother Teresa".

"Please remember what country you're representing - remember your own country's track record and then you can start opining from the position of moral supremacy," Churkin said.

During the briefing, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the UN had received "credible reports of scores of civilians being killed either by intense bombardment or summary executions by pro-government forces".

Ban said that civilians, including women and children, were being rounded up and executed in four neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo.

He said the UN had no access to the city making independent verification impossible but noted that it was confident that the civilians in opposition-controlled pockets of eastern Aleppo numbered "in the thousands".

Churkin rejected allegations of atrocities being committed against civilians in Aleppo, noting that Russia had received no such information.

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