Ban Ki-moon

UN impotent before Syria war crimes

Russia and Syria faced a growing chorus of international condemnation over their actions in Aleppo, but U.N. officials conceded Thursday there was little they could do beyond shaming the two countries for what they are increasingly calling "war crimes."

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council that with the Syrian army's encirclement, eastern Aleppo has descended into the "merciless abyss of humanitarian catastrophe," with 275,000 additional Syrians now being besieged.

"Besiegement it's not a weapon of war, it is a flagrant, unjustifiable breech of the law — law which the besieging parties have signed up to,"...