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UN to vote on deploying observers to Aleppo

Evacuations have been taking place from Aleppo's rebel-held areas [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 18 December, 2016

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The UN Security Council will vote on a French proposal to dispatch monitors to oversea the evacuation of Syrians from the war-torn city.

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Aleppo, war
The UN Security Council is due to vote on sending observers to Aleppo, as trapped civilians and rebels waited desperately for evacuations to resume from an opposition-held enclave in besieged sections of the Syrian city.

A rebel representative told AFP an agreement had been reached to allow more people to leave the city which has been ravaged by some of the worst violence of the nearly six-year war that has killed more than 400,000 people.

But there was no confirmation from President Bashar al-Assad's regime or its staunch allies Russia and Iran, which are under mounting international pressure to end what US President Barack Obama denounced as the "horror" in Aleppo.

The UN Security Council was set to meet at 11am (4pm GMT) on Sunday to vote on French proposals to dispatch monitors to oversee so-called evacuations and report on the protection of civilians, but faced resistance from Damascus ally and veto-wielding Russia.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said an international presence would prevent Aleppo from turning into another Srebrenica, where thousands of Bosnian men and boys were massacred in 1995 when the town fell to Bosnian Serb forces during the Balkan wars.

"Our goal through this resolution is to avoid another Srebrenica in this phase immediately following the military operations," Delattre told AFP.

Families spent the night in freezing temperatures in bombed out apartment blocks in Aleppo's al-Amiriyah district, the departure point for evacuations before they were halted on Friday, an AFP correspondent reported.

Abu Omar said that after waiting outside in the cold for nine hours the previous day, he had returned on Saturday only to be told the buses were not coming.

"There's no more food or drinking water, and the situation is getting worse by the day," he said, adding that his four children were sick because of the cold.

Dozens of trucks with humanitarian aid crossed the Turkish border Saturday into Syria, piling supplies in a buffer zone.

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