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World News

Merkel criticises Russia over Syria bombing that forces thousands to flee

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (not pictured) in Ankara, Turkey February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised Russia on Monday for bombings in Syria that have forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee, suggesting they were in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution that Moscow signed in December.

Speaking during a visit to Ankara, Merkel said she was “appalled” and “shocked” by the suffering in the Syrian city of Aleppo, which she blamed on bomb attacks originating primarily from the Russian side in support of the Syrian government.

“We must take another look at Resolution 2254 from December 18, the resolution of the UN Security Council that was supported by Russia,” Merkel said.

“In the resolution the Security Council demands that all sides stop attacks on civilians and civilian targets without delay, and in particular the use of indiscriminate weapons, such as bomb attacks from the air. It is very specific in the resolution.”

At a news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Merkel also called for immediate steps from Ankara to improve the situation for refugees in Turkey, saying the 3 billion euros pledged by the European Union must be deployed without delay.

“We need a visible first project. It doesn’t help a child from Syria that is a refugee here, or a Turkish class that has to share its room with Syrian refugees to say we have pledged 3 billion. They want to see a school in the city and fast,” Merkel said.

“We need to work on this. We need to make sure there are not too many bureaucratic hurdles. Rather the refugees have to see the benefits quickly and without bureaucracy.”

Writing by Noah Barkin and Joseph Nasr; editing by Jon Boyle

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