Evacuations from Aleppo resume as extra UN monitors arrive

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Disabled Bakri and 5 children who fled to safety in Jibreen, Aleppo, Syria, said they barely had food, were under constant fire and shelling. He also fell off his chair many times. Photo: IOM Syria

Evacuations of civilians from the Syrian city of Aleppo have resumed, and at least 20 extra staff members from the UN have been deployed to help ensure their safe passage.

The UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq told journalists in New York that after being stalled for more than a day, the evacuation of besieged neighbourhoods in the east of the city were expected to continue through Wednesday.

Matthew Wells reports.

On Monday, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous resolution approving the deployment of UN and other international observers demanding that "all parties allow complete, immediate and unconditional" access to civilians evacuating freely, to areas of their own choosing.

Some UN staff were already on the ground in some places, to observe the evacuation that began last week, after government forces and their allies, recaptured most of the rebel-held territory in the east.

Farhan Haq said the International Committee of the Red Cross, estimated that 25,000 had now evacuated since 15 December.

"At least 20 surge staff from Damascus have been deployed to Aleppo to support ongoing observations of evacuations and response activities in the city.

UN teams have maintained a presence at the Ramouseh Government checkpoint in Aleppo to observe the evacuations from east Aleppo since 15 December.

Protection of civilians leaving these areas remains the biggest concern. The process for evacuation was traumatic, with crowding and vulnerable people waiting for hours and exposed to sub-zero temperatures." 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the evacuees included 301 wounded and sick people, including 93 patients in a critical condition who had been transferred to Turkey for treatment. 

Also on Wednesday, the UN Security council renewed its resolutions on humanitarian access in Syria for another 12 months. 

The new mandate calls for Syrian authorities to allow rapid access to all civilians in need. 

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'22"

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