Aleppo: Envoy urges Russia to leave humanitarian corridors to UN

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Aid convoy heads to Douma, Syria Photo: WFP/Basel Hassan

The establishment of "humanitarian corridors" to assist civilians trapped in the Syrian city of Aleppo should be left to the UN, the global body's envoy for the war-torn country said on Friday.

Staffan de Mistura was speaking in reaction to Russia's proposal to create measures that would allow aid to enter the besieged city and for residents to escape.

The UN estimates 250,000 people are trapped in eastern Aleppo, where vital supplies are dwindling.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr de Mistura told journalists in Geneva that in principle, the UN supports humanitarian corridors "under the right circumstances that allow the protection of civilians."

The envoy said he had studied the Russian proposal and was awaiting further clarification.

"Our suggestion is to Russia, to actually leave the corridors being established at their initiative to us. The UN and the humanitarian partners, as you know, know what to do. They have experience. That's our job: bringing humanitarian supplies and assistance to civilians wherever they decided to be voluntarily is exactly why the UN is there for."

Mr de Mistura said the humanitarian corridors proposal should not be viewed separately from a UN call for a weekly 48-hour break in fighting so that aid can be delivered to Aleppo.

UN emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien outlined the need for a "humanitarian pause" in a briefing to the Security Council on Monday.

Mr de Mistura said the pause is "imperative," especially if humanitarian corridors are to be established.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'06"

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