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UN Security Council to meet on Aleppo evacuation

UN Security Council to meet on Aleppo evacuation

United Nations: The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors tomorrow to discuss the crisis in Aleppo after civilians began evacuating and Syrian forces moved to assert full control over the city.

France requested the urgent consultations, set for around midday (1700 GMT), to push for international observers to be sent to the city to monitor the situation and ensure deliveries of humanitarian aid.

“In these very dark days in Aleppo, it is critically important to have international observers under the surveillance of the UN to oversee the situation,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters today.

After months of intense fighting, Syrian forces moved in the past month to crush the remaining pockets of rebel opposition in the country’s second city, which has been divided between rebel- and government-held districts since 2012.

UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien will brief the council on details of the evacuation that began earlier Thursday with a convoy of ambulances and buses crossing into a government-held district in southern Aleppo.

“France and Germany are working closely together on the conditions for safe evacuation and humanitarian access conditions for civilians to be able to leave safely,” said Delattre.

A Syrian military source told AFP that 951 evacuees, including 108 wounded, were in the convoy. Most were civilians but about 200 rebel fighters were among them.

The fall of Aleppo will hand Syrian President Bashar al-Assad his biggest victory in the nearly six-year war.

The United Nations is calling for a ceasefire, full access for humanitarian aid and a return to political negotiations to end the war.