LATEST: UK calls for immediate ceasefire, aid in Aleppo
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference | Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, on Monday called for an urgent ceasefire and direct humanitarian aid to citizens in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, AFP reported.
Johnson said Russia and Iran should use their influence to encourage Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the assault on the city.
“The assault is threatening a humanitarian catastrophe,” Johnson said, while adding that everyone involved in the conflict had a responsibility to protect civilians under international humanitarian law.
Also on Monday, British politicians and religious organizations issued a joint statement calling upon the U.K. government to take swift action to facilitate the delivery of aid to Aleppo.
The statement, signed by 120 MPs and 13 Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations, said Aleppo’s inhabitants faced disaster without the delivery of food and medicine and “the time for excuses is over.”
“Nearly 100,000 children are facing the slowest, cruelest death because we cannot reach them with food and medical supplies,” the statement said.
On Monday, Syria’s rebels lost control of the northern neighborhoods in east Aleppo, making it more likely the entirety of the eastern part of the city, in opposition hands since 2012, will be returned to government control, AFP reported.
The territory held by Syria’s rebels has been steadily reduced since Russia became involved in the conflict, backing al-Assad, in September 2015.