OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion is at the United Nations in New York to try to ratchet up pressure on Russia and the Syrian government to stop bombing Aleppo and allow in much-needed humanitarian assistance.
Dion will call out Russia and Syrian President Bashar Assad by name during a special session of the UN General Assembly organized by Canada and supported by more than 70 other countries.
The minister will ask the UN Security Council to break the impasse that has prevented the international community from intervening Syria, where more than 400,000 people have been killed since 2011.
He will also remind Russia and Assad of their responsibilities to protect civilians and call for an immediate end to airstrikes against rebel-held parts of Aleppo, and access to humanitarian aid for the estimated 250,000 people trapped in the city.
Dion says Canada asked for the special session so countries could express frustration at the current situation in Syria, and to try to put extra pressure on Russia and Syria to end five years of fighting.
The session coincides with the start of a unilateral pause in Russian and Syrian government airstrikes in Aleppo, which Russian officials have said will be extended until Friday.