| UNITED NATIONS
UNITED NATIONS The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously condemned what it described as "terrorist attacks" in the Syrian city of Aleppo earlier this week, a series of coordinated suicide bombings which killed 48 people in the northern metropolis.
"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Aleppo, Syria on 3 October, causing dozens of deaths and over one hundred civilians injured, responsibility for which was claimed by the Jebhat al-Nusra group affiliated with al Qaeda," the 15-nation council said in a non-binding statement.
Agreements among Security Council members on the Syrian conflict are rare. Friday's statement came on the heels of a separate statement on Thursday that condemned a deadly Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish border town on the same day as the Aleppo bombings.
Council diplomats said Russia had insisted on Friday's statement on the Aleppo attack in exchange for its support for the statement on the Syrian mortar attack on Turkey that killed five civilians.
Western diplomats said privately they were reluctant to issue statements on individual attacks in the Syria war, but insisted that the cross-border attack on Turkey was unique and deserved special attention.
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said his government had urged the Security Council to include in any statement on the border attacks a reaction to "suicide terrorist attacks that struck the city of Aleppo."
Consensus within the council on anything related to Syria is unusual, as it has been deadlocked on the issue of the country's 18-month-long conflict for more than a year, with Russia and China rejecting calls to sanction the Damascus government.
Beijing and Moscow have vetoed three Western- and Arab-backed council resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for its onslaught against the opposition in what has become a full-blown civil war.
About 30,000 people have been killed across Syria in the conflict between Assad's forces and rebels seeking to oust him, opposition activists say. The war has seen growing sectarian overtones which threaten to draw in regional Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite powers.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)