UN relief chief "deeply frustrated and saddened" by Aleppo evacuation delays

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A child and a man sell baked goods in Aleppo, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Rami Zayat

It is "deeply regrettable" that critically ill people have not been evacuated from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, despite calls from the UN and its partners in the past few days.

That was the sentiment expressed by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Stephen O'Brien in a statement released on Monday.

A government offensive to take back eastern Aleppo has killed nearly 500 people in recent weeks.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr O'Brien said the UN and its partners were prepared to evacuate sick and injured people from Aleppo.

The process had involved long and demanding negotiations, as well as "endless rounds of clarifications" on the issue of conditions and guarantees.

The UN relief chief said he was "deeply frustrated and saddened" that the plans had to be shelved.

The evacuations were obstructed by numerous factors, he stated.

They included delays in receiving the required approvals from local authorities, conditions put in place by non-State armed groups, and the Government's objection to allowing medical and other supplies into the eastern part of the city.

The UN humanitarian chief said he was outraged that the fate of vulnerable citizens in Aleppo "rests mercilessly in the hands of parties who have consistently and unashamedly failed to put them above narrow political and military interests."

However, he underscored that humanitarians will not be deterred from trying to save lives.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'05"

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