Syria Envoy slams use of blackmail in evacuations

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UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (left), with United Nations Office at Geneva Director-General Michael Møller and Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. Photo: UN Radio/Daniel Johnson

Claims that blackmail has been used in Syria to delay the evacuation of civilians from war zones are evidence that the war is among "the most horrible" the United Nations has encountered, UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Monday.

Speaking at a ceremony in Geneva to show solidarity for the country's people, Mr de Mistura explained that "nothing had been spared" in the near-six-year conflict, and that all parties to the fighting are to blame for "horrors".

His comments follow a vote by the UN Security Council to support international monitoring of the evacuation of Aleppo.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Reports indicate that the evacuation of eastern Aleppo is progressing more smoothly at last, with men, women and orphaned children now transported away from the violence.

Linked to this development, deadlock over the villages of Foah and Kafraya also appears to have eased too, with news that civilians have been evacuated from the opposition-held area.

At a public ceremony in Geneva to mark a minute's silence for the victims of the near six-year conflict, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that nothing has been off-limits…

"…Including blackmailing each other on the evacuation of civilians and children, orphans, on both sides, putting a condition, 'I'll do that if you do that,' indeed among people from the same country, so it has been a horrible conflict."

Paying tribute to all the Syrians who have died in the violence to date, Mr de Mistura opened a large black book he had brought with him to the ceremony.

It contained the names of 100,000 victims of the conflict, he said, a number that has been far exceeded since they were published.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’03″

 

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