UN chief calls for Aleppo evacuation to resume

In his final news conference as UN chief, Ban says: “Aleppo is now a synonym for hell.”

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Evacuees from rebel-held eastern Aleppo ride on pick-up trucks along the regime-held area of al-Ramousah bridge, Syria December 16, 2016.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged all parties in Syria to resume the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo after operations were suspended in the battered city.

"Aleppo is now a synonym for hell," Ban said in his final news conference before he steps down as UN chief on December 31.

The Syrian regime suspended the evacuation of civilians and rebel from Aleppo on Friday, leaving thousands of people trapped and facing an uncertain fate.

A Turkey-Russia brokered ceasefire agreement for the evacuation of civilians and rebels out of east Aleppo went into effect Tuesday night. The first convoy of civilians moved out of the city on Thursday. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on all sides to respect the deal.

The UN Security Council is meeting behind closed doors on Friday to hear a briefing from UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien on the situation in Aleppo and to discuss a French proposal to send observers.

"The immediate priority is to save lives, to stop the massacres and to avoid a new Srebrenica," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, referring to the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Bosnian Serbs during the Balkan wars.

TRTWorld and agencies