Aleppo: World powers traded blame on Thursday after Kofi Annan quit as international peace envoy to Syria, complaining that his initiative to end the bloodshed there never received the support it deserved. (Agencies)
As Syria's government deployed fighter jets against rebels armed with tanks around the commercial capital Aleppo, the outgoing UN-Arab League envoy voiced regret at the "increasing militarisation" of the nearly 17-month conflict.
The former UN secretary general hit out at "continuous finger-pointing and name-calling" at the UN Security Council, which he said had prevented coordinated action to stop the violence.
"I did not receive all the support that the cause deserved," Annan told a hastily arranged news conference in Geneva.
"You have to understand: as an envoy, I can't want peace more than the protagonists, more than the Security Council or the international community for that matter.
"The increasing militarisation on the ground and the lack of unanimity in the Security Council fundamentally changed my role."
But Annan predicted that President Bashar al-Assad would go "sooner or later," and did not rule out his successor having more luck or success, despite his warning there was "no Plan B."
Writing in the Financial Times, Annan called on Moscow and Washington to shoulder responsibility for saving Syria from catastrophic civil war.
He stressed that Western military intervention would not deliver success on its own and that a political solution which was not comprehensive was doomed to fail.
"Syria can still be saved from the worst calamity. But this requires courage and leadership, most of all from the permanent members of the Security Council, including from Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Barack) Obama," he wrote.
Annan's resignation sparked a new round of recriminations among the council's five permanent members, with the United States blaming Russia and China for vetoing three separate UN resolutions on the conflict.
"Annan's resignation highlights the failure at the United Nations Security Council of Russia and China to support meaningful resolutions against Assad that would have held Assad accountable," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Germany also said Annan's decision was partly due to Chinese and Russian opposition to sanctions.
But Russia's envoy to the world body, Vitaly Churkin, insisted Moscow had supported Annan "very strongly," and Putin called his resignation a "great shame."
Aleppo: World powers traded blame on Thursday after Kofi Annan quit as international peace envoy to Syria, complaining that his initiative to end the bloodshed there never received the support it deserved.