(QHA) - Russia on Jan. 8 blocked a British-drafted U.N. Security Council statement condemning the Syrian government attacks on the city of Aleppo, AFP reports. It was the second time in a month that Russia objected to a western bid to slam President Bashar al-Assad's air assault against Syria's biggest city that has killed hundreds since December 15. Aid groups say that Scud missiles and barrels packed with explosives and shrapnel have been dropped on schools, markets and hospitals in Aleppo, killing more than 700 people. Britain circulated a draft press statement expressing "outrage" at the government attacks on civilians to the other 14 members of the council Jan. 7. The statement needs the agreement of all members to be released, and Russia objected, insisting all references to Aleppo be taken out, diplomats said. So Britain withdrew the text for fear of seeing a tepid message put out, they added. Russia is a key backer of al-Assad and has used its power as a permanent council member to veto three legally binding resolutions on Syria since the war started in March 2011. Still, Russian diplomats would not immediately comment on the proposed statement.

QHA