US will act ‘if must’

UNITED NATIONS/AMMAN – US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Monday that Washington “remains prepared to act if we must,” if the UN Security Council fails to act on Syria, as the Syrian army’s onslaught in eastern Ghouta continued unabated.

The US asked the Security Council to demand an immediate 30-day ceasefire in Damascus and rebel-held eastern Ghouta, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, say they are targeting “terrorist” groups who are shelling the capital.

The army’s onslaught in eastern Ghouta, backed by air and artillery strikes, has killed about 1160 people since February 18, a war monitoring group said, as Mr Assad seeks to crush the last big rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

“It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again,” Ms Haley told the 15-member Security Council.

“When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”

The US bombed a Syrian government air base last year over a deadly chemical weapons attack.

The Security Council demanded a 30-day ceasefire across Syria in a unanimously adopted February 24 resolution.

Russia and Damascus say a ceasefire ordered by the UN Security Council does not protect the fighters in eastern Ghouta, arguing that they are members of banned terrorist groups.

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