Hopes rise for evacuation from Syria’s east Aleppo

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UN Special Adviser Jan Egeland expressed hope that civilians could leave Aleppo on Thursday but said that “not a single convoy” had delivered aid to other besieged areas this month. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Hopes are rising that thousands of besieged civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo can finally leave the last rebel-held areas, possibly on Thursday.

Special Adviser to the UN Jan Egeland said that UN monitors will be present, at the request of Russia.

Outside Aleppo, he noted that 750,000 people remain in besieged locations across the country, which has been at war for nearly six years.

Daniel Johnson has more.

After emerging from a meeting of a humanitarian task-force at the UN in Geneva, UN Special Adviser Jan Egeland announced that civilians may finally be able to leave the last opposition-held areas of east Aleppo.

Five previous attempts to make this happen had failed, Egeland reminded reporters, but this time things could be different, as Russia had expressly invited the UN to assist with the evacuation.

"We stand ready to accompany those who are being evacuated not only from east Aleppo, but all the way to Idlib, that is controlled by armed opposition groups, that will be the destination of most of the people."

Outlining the deal, Egeland said that the operation would involve the evacuation of the wounded and sick, other vulnerable civilians and fighters.

Russia, he continued, had confirmed that the process would be "swift, un-bureaucratic" and "non-intrusive", and that "no harm will meet those who are evacuated”.

To date, the UN has not been able to gain access to the many thousands of people who are still believed to be in the last remaining parts of opposition-held eastern Aleppo.

But the organization and its partners are assisting some 50,000 people who've made it to government-controlled areas of the city, after fleeing the war zone and fast-shifting front line.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’22″

 

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