A plea from Homs

A Syrian woman, purportedly living in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, obtained the email distribution list for the political coordinators of the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council, and fired off an angry letter in response to China’s and Russia’s veto of a resolution demanding a halt to the violence. The writer, who ...

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JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images
JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images
JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images

A Syrian woman, purportedly living in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, obtained the email distribution list for the political coordinators of the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council, and fired off an angry letter in response to China's and Russia's veto of a resolution demanding a halt to the violence.

The writer, who identified herself as Yasmine, addressed her letter to Russia's U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, saying that while she had once been one of the Russian envoy's "greater admirers" she had been horrified by his decision to block council action. She pleaded with the Russian envoy to help secure the release of a 19-year-old cousin.

"I watch TV and see your hand. You veto Arab country resolution to save my city," she wrote in the Feb. 13 email, which was sent under the subject line "help Homs." "Your veto is licence [sic] to kill Syria infants, children, women and elderly."

A Syrian woman, purportedly living in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, obtained the email distribution list for the political coordinators of the 15 nations on the U.N. Security Council, and fired off an angry letter in response to China’s and Russia’s veto of a resolution demanding a halt to the violence.

The writer, who identified herself as Yasmine, addressed her letter to Russia’s U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, saying that while she had once been one of the Russian envoy’s "greater admirers" she had been horrified by his decision to block council action. She pleaded with the Russian envoy to help secure the release of a 19-year-old cousin.

"I watch TV and see your hand. You veto Arab country resolution to save my city," she wrote in the Feb. 13 email, which was sent under the subject line "help Homs." "Your veto is licence [sic] to kill Syria infants, children, women and elderly."

Russia has come under intense international criticism for its role in preventing the U.N. Security Council from acting in Syria. For his part, Churkin has maintained that his government is actively pursuing a negotiated settlement to the 11-month long political uprising.

It was impossible to verify the woman’s identity. But a Security Council diplomat who viewed the email, which also went to the Russian mission, said, "it is a reminder, as if we need it in this era of citizen journalists, that what happens in meeting rooms in New York can have real and sometimes tragic consequences in far away places like Homs."

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

Colum Lynch was a staff writer at Foreign Policy between 2010 and 2022. Twitter: @columlynch

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