Evacuations Begin in the Troubled Syrian City of Aleppo

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses a press conference, his last at United Nations headquarters, as his term of office draws to a close at the end of the year. At his side is his Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses a press conference, his last at United Nations headquarters, as his term of office draws to a close at the end of the year. At his side is his Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe

Evacuations have begun in the Syrian city of Aleppo, as an estimated 25,000 people have been evacuated from besieged neighbourhoods over the past five days.

The United Nations said the evacuations escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) resumed Wednesday.

The UN Security Council had demanded on Monday that all parties should provide the United Nations with safe, immediate and unhindered access to monitor evacuations from the eastern districts of Aleppo and the protection of civilians throughout Syria.

[ Aleppo Is Now a Synonym for Hell: Ban Ki-moon ]

Unanimously adopting resolution 2328 (2016), the 15-nation organ had requested that the United Nations and other relevant institutions carry out adequate, neutral and direct observation, and ensure further deployment of staff as needed.

It further requested that the Secretary-General take urgent steps to make arrangements that would allow the observation by the Organization of the well-being of civilians, and to report on the text’s implementation within five days.

[ Security Council to Send UN Monitors to War-Torn Aleppo ]

Taking note of the efforts to evacuate civilians and fighters affected by the conflict, the Council stressed that they must be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles.

It also stressed the importance of ensuring voluntary, safe and dignified passage of all civilians from the eastern districts of Aleppo to a destination of their choice, giving priority to the most vulnerable and seriously wounded.

Meanwhile, the Security Council approved in New York the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders and conflict lines in Syria for another year.

It adopted a resolution demanding that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, immediately comply with their obligations under international law.

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Rakesh Raman