By RON DePASQUALE, Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Friday condemned "in the strongest terms" four deadly suicide bombings in Syria's largest city after Syria requested the condemnation.
The Aleppo bombings, which killed scores of civilians, happened at about the same time Wednesday as Syria's cross-border shelling that killed five women and children in Turkey. The council on Thursday condemned the shelling, and Syria's U.N. ambassador asked the council to address the bombings as well.
Thursday's condemnation of the shelling represented a key concession by Russia, Syria's top ally, which has vetoed three council resolutions in recent months aimed at ending a civil war that activists say has left 30,000 dead. The council overcame deep divisions before calling on the Syrian government "to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors."
An al-Qaida-linked group, Jebhat al-Nusra, has claimed credit for the Aleppo bombings.
Syria's U.N. ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, called the bombings "suicide terrorist attacks" and said some of the bombers traveled through the Turkish-Syrian border.
Guatemala's U.N. Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, the current Security Council president, read a council statement Friday that expressed "deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts and to the people of Syria."
The council also called on nations combatting terrorism to comply with international law, "in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law."
Syria's cross-border shelling killed five women and children in Turkey. Turkey retaliated with artillery strikes that went deep into Syria.
Ja'afari said Thursday that his government was not seeking any escalation of violence with Turkey. He read reporters a letter he delivered to the Security Council that sent Syria's "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims.
The letter also urged Turkey and Syria's other neighbors to "act wisely, rationally and responsibly" and to prevent cross-border infiltration of "terrorists and insurgents."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm at the escalating border tensions and warned Thursday that the risks of a region-wide conflict were increasing.
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