Aleppo evacuation: UN Security Council to vote on sending observers


A Syrian living in Jordan holds a placard during a protest in front of UN offices in Amman, Jordan, 17 December 2016.Image copyright
EPA

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A Syrian woman demands action in front of the UN’s offices in Amman, Jordan

The UN Security Council is to vote on whether to send observers to the stricken Syrian city of Aleppo, diplomats say.

France has proposed that officials should monitor evacuation efforts and report on the protection of civilians.

It is expected to encounter resistance from Russia, which is an ally of Syria’s and a veto-wielding Security Council member.

Moscow has vetoed six resolutions on Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

France circulated a draft text late on Friday stating that the council is “alarmed” by the worsening humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, where “tens of thousands” are in peril.

Cold and hungry civilians remain stranded in the rebel-held east of the city, waiting to be moved to safety.

At least 6,000 people left east Aleppo under a fragile truce on Thursday, but the operation was halted a day later.

The besieged city has seen rapid government advances in recent weeks.

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Reuters

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Aleppo has been reduced to rubble, with thousands of civilians trapped amid the carnage

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Reuters

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Aid workers say children are among those waiting in freezing temperatures in east Aleppo

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AFP

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Russian soldiers have helped supervised the evacuation

On Saturday, various government and rebel sources confirmed that a new evacuation deal had been reached, which included the following:

  • The continued evacuation of civilians and rebels from eastern Aleppo
  • The evacuation of “humanitarian cases” from the mainly Shia towns of Foah and Kefraya, besieged by rebels, in Idlib province
  • The evacuation of wounded from two government-besieged towns near the Lebanese border – Madaya and Zabadani

Aleppo’s convoys will only start moving again when Shia civilians are allowed out of the pro-government towns of Foah and Kefraya, according to the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Istanbul.

Fifty buses have moved to the towns in anticipation, and more are gathering at the Ramousseh crossing outside Aleppo, our correspondent says.

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AFP

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A picture taken from a rebel-held area shows smoke billowing from buildings in the pro-regime town of Foua

Media captionSyria crisis: Hope turns to panic in Aleppo

What the resolution says:

The draft resolution asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to redeploy UN humanitarian staff already in Syria “to carry out adequate, neutral monitoring … and to report on evacuations from besieged parts of Aleppo and protection of civilians”.

The UN chief would report to the council within five days on whether the Syrian government had granted the observers access.

The resolution also demands the protection of all doctors, hospitals and ambulances, after reports that Syrian forces had bombed all the medical facilities in Aleppo.

The text specifically mentions the border hospitals of Atmeh, Darkoush, Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salamah, where many of the evacuees would be taken.

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AP

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France has proposed a resolution to send UN observers to Aleppo

Who is still trapped in eastern Aleppo?

The UN’s children’s charity Unicef says sick and wounded children are among the evacuees from east Aleppo, some of whom left without their parents.

“However, hundreds of other vulnerable children, including orphans, remain trapped inside that part of the city,” it added.

“We are extremely concerned about their fate. If these children are not evacuated urgently, they could die.”

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AP

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Some injured children are being treated in a field hospital near Idlib

Abdulkafi al-Hamdo, a teacher who is also still in east Aleppo with his young daughter, told the BBC by phone he did not want to leave his home and city but believed he had no choice.

“The weather is so cold,” he said. “Some people have been here since 09:00 yesterday (07:00 GMT on Friday) and the children are so hungry they are crying. They are freezing. Most of them here are scared of a brutal end to the ceasefire.

“They are afraid that they will not be able to get out. This is the feeling of most people here.”

Media captionWounded evacuees from eastern Aleppo in Syria have been brought to Idlib, south west of the city, for medical help

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AP


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