France called on the UN Security Council on Friday to take a vote on a resolution demanding an end to hostilities in Syria, including the grounding of all military aircraft in the northern city of Aleppo, but Russia threatened to cast a veto.
Francois Delattre, French ambassador to the UN, indicated that the vote would be held on Saturday, warning that there was an "absolute emergency" in Aleppo, whose rebel-held areas have been under intense airstrikes by Syria and its ally Russia.
The resolution, which has been seen by dpa, calls on all parties for an immediate cessation of hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access and an end to "all aerial bombardments of and military flights over Aleppo city."
The text also calls for "enhanced monitoring" of the ceasefire under UN auspices, requesting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to propose such options.
"After one week of intense negotiations we are close to the moment of truth," Delattre said.
"Aleppo is to Syria what Guernica was to the Spanish war: a human tragedy, a black hole destroying all we believe in, but also the harbinger of many more disasters to come."
However, Russia warned that it could not agree to the text, drafted by France and Spain, noting that it was "unprecedented" that the Security Council was trying to dictate to one its permanent members "to limit its own activities."
"I cannot possibly see how we can let this resolution pass," said Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN.
"I have the suspicion that the real motive is to cause a Russian veto."