IF every generation is destined to have its Ladysmith, its Nanking, its Stalingrad or its Sarajevo, then it is not hard to identify the most recent stage for atrocity and barbarism.
Monday’s air strikes on aid convoys destined for Aleppo have secured that dubious distinction for the besieged Syrian city.
The ancient city, a world heritage site, has been a battlefield since July 2012, and has endured the Syrian army’s use of barrel bombs which have killed thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands more have been forced to evacuate.
Monday’s air attack has been denied by the Syrian government and Russia but the UN has suspended all aid convoys in Syria. In language far les diplomatic than is the norm, UN chief Ban Ki-moon launched a stinging attack on the Syrian government, saying it had killed the most civilians in the civil war. “Powerful patrons ... feeding the war machine, also have blood on their hands.” His outrage, and the seeming powerlessness of the international community to intervene and impose a peace, is just another sad example of the frailty of virtue and humanity’s best intentions.
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