Evacuation of besieged Syrian town against international law

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On 9 June 2016, WFP and partners delivered food for 2,400 women, children and men in besieged Darayya. Photo: WFP/Hussam AlSaleh

The top UN humanitarian official has expressed concern over the evacuation of civilians from the besieged Syrian town of Darayya.

Representatives from the Syrian Government and the town evacuated the entire population over two days last week in a process to which the UN was not a party, UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Stephen O'Brien has said.

In a statement issued late on Tuesday, he explained that agreements resulting in mass civilian evacuations after a prolonged siege do not comply with international and humanitarian rights law.

Dianne Penn reports.

Darayya has been under siege for four years, with starving citizens resorting to eating grass, among other horrors. 

Mr O'Brien said the UN was not informed of the operation until a few hours before it took place. 

While stressing that sieges must be lifted, Mr O'Brien said this should not happen through any agreement which results in the forced displacement of civilians. 

He stated that what occurred in Darayya should not set a precedent for other besieged areas in Syria. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 31″

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