Forum: Security Council Issue: The Question of Aleppo Student Officer: Ludovica Chiappo Position: President Chair

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1 Forum: Security Council Issue: The Question of Aleppo Student Officer: Ludovica Chiappo Position: President Chair TIME LINE March 2011, outbreak of the pro-democracy protest 2012, fighting reaches Aleppo 30 June 2012, Geneva Communique September 2014, US-led coalition launches air strikes January 2016, Security Council meeting on the issue 22 January 2016, Geneva II Conference 11 September 2016, cease fire in Aleppo 8 October 2016, Russia vetoes a Security Council resolution INTRODUCTION In the catastrophic background of the Syrian war Aleppo is the victim of uncountable air strikes. Aleppo has become a real battlefield where the major payer involved is the Syrian central government of Assad who is fighting against the Syrian rebels. The Government is supported by Russia, while what we call rebels is a constellation of groups and factions, each with its own agenda. Some groups are in league with al Qaeda. But bear in mind that not all of them are affiliated with al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, an example is the Free Syrian Army. There are about 10,000/70,000 rebel fighters, but they are not all Syrian, as a matter of fact many foreign fighters have joined the battle field in order to help the rebels. Why is it so important for Syrian government to conquer Aleppo again? Syrian government is following a strategy which isolates rebel areas in the Country one from another, in order to defeat them separately. Retaking Aleppo would mean that this plan is working and it would be the proof that the fall of the terrorist regime is imminent as well as the end of the protests of the rebel groups. People in the opposition would start thinking whether it is really necessary to keep on fighting a war that will end with their destruction. Recent news, dated October 2016, collocate in the area several army units of the Syrian Government under the command of Syrian Air Force General Suheil al-hassan, whereas in other regions there are dislocated units of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Moreover, the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the People s Protection Units (YPG), are deployed close to the border with Turkey. It is important to understand that not only the situation is precarious, but the speed of the changes is unpredictable.

2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION That the war in Syria has created one of the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War is beyond doubts. According to the United Nations at least 300,000 have been killed, 4.8 million have left the Country becoming refugees, 8.7 million have left their homes for safer parts of Syria. And now 250,000 people are trying to survive in a shattered city, Aleppo, and the number of survivors is decreasing day by day. Moreover, this tremendous war started from a pro-democracy protest in March 2011 when security forces opened fire on demonstrators. From this event everything has gone downhill descending into a real civil war. Violence escalated and it reached Aleppo in By June 2013, the UN said 90,000 people had been killed in the conflict. By August 2015, that figure had climbed to 250,000, according to activists and the UN. Not only did the war divide a Country, but the situation was about to get worse, since the rise of influence of the Islamic State (IS). Secular moderates were now outnumbered by Islamists and jihadists, whose brutal tactics have caused widespread concern and triggered rebel infighting. The extremist group that grew out of al-qaeda has taken control of territories in northern and western Syria by capitalizing on the chaos in the regions. The first air strike was launched in September 2014 by a US coalition. In line with this attempt to degrade and ultimately destroy IS, Russia began an air campaign too. As a matter of fact Russia is supporting Assad s government with the purpose of destroying the terrorist groups in the area. On the contrary, the aim of the US is to depose Syrian leader Assad. Even though Moscow have said that Russian targets are the bases of the terrorist groups, it is unquestionable that many civilians have been killed since the start of these campaigns. Furthermore, since it is doubtful that the situation will end without any political solution, the UN Security Council has called for the implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique, which envisages a transitional governing body with full executive powers formed on the basis of mutual consent. The Geneva Conference was attended by the United Nations, the Arab league, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and 40 different nations. The conference started on 22 January KEY WORDS ISIL: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It originated in 1999 as a group which pledged an alliance to Al-Qaeda. The terrorist group first proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate and began calling itself as Islamic State in June YPG: People s Protection Units. It is the main armed service of the Federation of Northern Syria-Rojava (a de facto autonomous region in Northern Syria). FREE SYRIAN ARMY: the group first appeared in June Its ranks swelled with soldiers who said they would rather defect from the government military than obey orders to fire on protesters, when the central government of Assad asked them to attack civilians. But there also civilians among them. MAJOR PLAYERS INVOLVED

3 SYRIA Syria is a Country divided by this tremendous war that started when pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several people, more took to the streets. As a matter of fact at the end of September 2015 Assad asked Putin for military aid in order to defeat the terrorist groups in Aleppo. While Moscow said that the strikes were against Isis targets, it appears that most of the deaths are among civilians. Moreover, the government have asked for more support from the Saudi Arabian troops. As for now their intervention is confined to air strikes only, but in the future it is plausible that there might be some ground intervention too. RUSSIAN FEDERATION At the end of September 2015 Moscow started the air strikes, which are kneeling down the city of Aleppo. The main purpose of the Russian intervention is to prop up Bashar al- Assad s flagging regime, which has been under siege by the Islamic State, westernbacked rebels, and al-qaeda- affiliated groups. According to the Russian government, the airplanes are supposed to provide close air support for Assad s troops fighting IS. As a matter of fact the Russian air strikes, together with the one by the Syrian government, are the cause of death of thousands of people. Furthermore, after a short period of cease fire, in two days only in September, there have been 150 air strikes and early reports put the death toll at nearly 200 people. During the latest meeting of the UN Security Council on this issue in October 2016,Russia vetoed a resolution that demanded a halt to Syrian government s air attacks in Aleppo and called for access for humanitarian aid. Moreover, after this decision the British ambassador accused Russia of abusing its veto power. The Council is now divided and this means that civilians will continue to suffer and be killed by air bombing until all the members of the UN body come to a solution. As stated by Matthew Mycroft, UK ambassador, addressing his words to the Russian delegate: Thanks to your actions today, Syrians will continue to lose their lives in Aleppo and beyond to Russian and Syrian bombing. Please stop now. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA The US have accused President Assad of responsibility for widespread atrocities, saying he should leave the power. Nevertheless the US agreeon the need for a negotiated settlement to end the war and the formation of a transitional administration. The US support Syria's main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, and provide limited military assistance to "moderate" rebels. Since September 2014, the US has been conducting air strikes on IS and other jihadist groups in Syria as part of an international coalition against the jihadist group. In 2015 the U.S. launched a $500 million program to train and organize 5,000 Syrian fighters, but the program failed. Moreover, US have accused Moscow of committing war crimes thus causing a division inside the Security Council. INTERNATIONAL SYRIA SUPPORT GROUP The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is a working group whose aim is finding a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. The ISSG was established in the fall of 2015 and it is co-chaired by the US and Russia. The 19 founding ISSG members were China, Egypt, EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, UK, UN, and the US. Membership has since then expanded to include the Arab League, Australia, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Organization of Islamic

4 Cooperation, and Spain. This organization asks for the cessation of hostilities in Syria and since April 2016 it has initiated half-hearted measures such as local temporary ceasefires. UNICEF The United Nations Children s Rights & Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF) called for an end to the violence that is causing dire humanitarian and psychological impacts on both sides of the divided city. Furthermore, the organization is worried by the numerous deaths of children in the area, that are not only caused directly by air strikes but also implemented due to the fact that all of the hospitals of the city have been destroyed. As a matter of fact, UNICEF datas count that over 100 children have been killed in bombings since September INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE The IRC s mission is to help people, whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster, to survive, recover and gain control of their future. It first began assisting Syrians in 2012, providing emergency relief and humanitarian aid to those uprooted by war. In 2015, nearly 2,000 IRC workers helped more than 1.4 million Syrians inside their country. The IRC is one of the major organizations involved in helping the locals providing them with medicines and clinics in order to deliver primary care. WHITE HELMETS The members of this organization are Syrian civilians. They are characterized by white helmets and have the purpose of saving human lives in the Syrian war. They have been active since 2013 and as for now they are about 2890 Syrian volunteers. White Helmets are mostly active in impervious war zones such as Damasco, Homs and Aleppo. They are united under the motto: saving one life means saving all of humanity. White helmets are neutral and unarmed and they provide medical assistance after air strikes. Up to now they have helped millions of people. PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO SOLVE THE ISSUE Since its outbreak the war in Syria has become a humanitarian crisis and many times the UN, together with the Syrian government, have tried to find a solution for the issue. For instance, the 2012 Geneva Communique is a crucial resolution about the issue which asks all the parties to fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, in order to reach an immediate cessation of armed violence in the area. Other attempts to solve the issue have been made later on in 2014 with what is known as Geneva II. Furthermore, for what concerns specifically the situation in Aleppo in 2016, the UN called for a cease fire in order to bring into the city the necessary goods and to help the population. The Security Council is now working to come to an end of the conflict, but the internal division of the house is slowing down the process. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

5 Under no circumstances should we leave the Syrian population suffering. It is our duty as the Security Council to find an immediate solution in order to come to an end of this conflict. Furthermore, we can not accept that political interests overcome the lives of millions of people, we can not be the reason of their death. A possible step could be to establish a new cease fire in order give the organizations in charge the necessary time to bring into the city medical supplies and other primary goods. As a matter of fact it is also crucial to stop the air strikes in the area by convincing Russia that not all of the residents of Aleppo are terrorists. We have to consider that these are real war crimes not only against the Syrian population but against humanity. NOTES FROM THE CHAIR This report is a starting point for your researches, delegates. I hope that you can find it useful, but I have some more suggestions for you. Delegates, be clear in your work and try to find as much important and pertinent information as you can. Be careful and never forget your topic, and try to constantly know what is happening around you all over the planet. All these expedients will help you and make your position stronger. Kind regards, Ludovica BIBLIOGRAPHY https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/08/russia-vetoes-un-resolution-syriabombing-aleppo https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/25/russia-accused-war-crimes-syriaun-security-council-aleppo https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/14/russias-military-action-in-syria-timeline

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