The U.S. urges the U.N. Security Council not to allow intense fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo to stop civilians from receiving humanitarian aid. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The United Nations Security Council must not allow civilians on both sides of the Syrian city of Aleppo to be cut off from humanitarian aid, the United States said on Monday (August 08). Insurgents effectively broke a month-long government siege of eastern, opposition-held Aleppo on Saturday, severing the primary government supply corridor and raising the prospect that government-held western Aleppo might become besieged. The United States, Britain, France, New Zealand and Ukraine organized an informal Security Council meeting on Aleppo on Monday with briefings by a "White Helmet" rescue worker and two U.S.-based doctors from the Syrian American Medical Society who recently returned from Aleppo. "If the fighting continues it is conceivable that civilians on both sides of Aleppo could be cut off from the basic assistance they need. We cannot allow this to happen," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said. Citing U.N. figures, Power said Syrian government forces were to blame for nearly 80 percent of the besieged areas throughout Syria. Aleppo, Syria's biggest city before the outbreak of the conflict five years ago, has been divided between government forces and rebels since the summer of 2012. The United Nations aid chief has called for weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses in fighting to deliver aid to Aleppo. A crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy protesters five years ago sparked a civil war, and Islamic State militants have used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. The United States and allies began bombing Islamic State militants in Syria nearly two years ago, while Russia began air strikes in support of Assad a year ago.