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UN Security Council approves monitoring of Aleppo evacuations

19 December 2016 21:37

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The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution to deploy UN observers to the Syrian city of Aleppo.

During a Monday session at the council’s headquarters in New York, the 15-member body unanimously approved a resolution drafted by France that urged “all parties to provide these monitors with safe, immediate and unimpeded access.”

The resolution stated that UN monitors sent to Aleppo would be carrying out “adequate, neutral monitoring and direct observation” on evacuations from the eastern part of the beleaguered city as well as other neighborhoods.

Aleppo is located about 355 kilometers north of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The resolution also asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to adopt prompt measures to let the observers examine “the well-being of civilians” and get in touch with interested parties during their deployment.

France’s Permanent Representative to the UN Francois Delattre hailed the measure as an attempt to prevent Aleppo from turning into another Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serbian death squads massacred over 8,000 Muslim Bosnian boys and men within a few days in 1995.

Syria’s UN envoy reacts to resolution

Meanwhile, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari in return denounced the resolution as propaganda.

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari addresses media following a United Nations Security Council vote at the UN headquarters in New York City, the United States, December 19, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

He argued that some UN Security Council member states, together with mainstream media outlets, continue to defend and support the so-called moderate Syrian opposition groups while turning a blind eye to crimes being perpetrated by them, such as burning buses used for the evacuation of civilians from the besieged villages of al-Foua and Kefraya besides a terrorist attack at a police station in Damascus carried out by a seven-year-old girl.

The Syrian diplomat said France and some member states in the Council were so obsessed with drafting the resolution that had no time left to state a single word condemning the terrorist attack.

Ja’afari said the Syrian government was looking at the resolution as a litmus test of legitimacy and morality for the countries involved in its draft, a chance for them to prove their good intentions, and the genuine interest to meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian nation.

The Syrian UN ambassador also described the rescue of foreign terrorists and intelligence officers fighting within the ranks of Takfiri militants in eastern Aleppo as the main reason for the adoption of the resolution. He stated that the foreign terrorists come from several countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Ja’afari said the Syrian government had been implementing the provisions of the recently-adopted resolution for years, terming the measure as nothing new.

“We have guaranteed the safety of UN staffers for six years, and none of the personnel got killed, wounded or abducted on the deployment,” he said when asked whether the Syrian government would ensure the UN observers’ safety.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on his official Twitter account on Monday that a total of 20,000 people had been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.

Evacuees from a recently-liberated eastern area of the Syrian city of Aleppo arrive at the militant-held al-Rashideen district, Syria, December 19, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Last week, Turkey and Russia reached a ceasefire agreement, enabling the evacuation of militants trapped in eastern Aleppo and their transfer to the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib.

Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan is scheduled to hold talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss latest regional issues as well ongoing developments in Syria.

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