United Nations Security Council Agrees to Monitor Aleppo Evacuations

December 18th 2016

Lucy Tiven

The United Nations Security Council on Sunday agreed on a draft of a resolution to send U.N. officials into eastern Aleppo to monitor evacuations from the war-torn Syrian city, the Wall Street Journal reports.


France and Russia both presented drafts of the measure Sunday and reached a compromise after over three hours of negotiations.

The resolution would permit the U.N. to send in monitors to provide humanitarian aid and asks parties on the ground “provide these monitors with safe, immediate and unimpeded access,the New York Times reports.

“This would give us collectively the tools to avoid another Srebrenica,” French U.N. ambassador François Delattre told the Times, referencing the 1995 civilian massacre during the Bosnian War.

From Wall Street Journal:

"The resolution drafted by France and amended by Russia calls for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately to dispatch U.N. teams already on the ground in Syria to areas of eastern Aleppo to ensure safe passage for evacuees, as well as immediate access to humanitarian aid and the protection of medical personnel and hospitals, diplomats said."


The draft suggests the U.N. will consult President Bashar al-Assad's regime but does not mention the Syrian government explicitly, diplomats told the Wall Stree Journal.

Russian U.N. ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin voiced opposition to the French draft earlier in the day. He did not comment on the agreement following the negotiations, which Delattre called "intense" in a comment to reporters.

“Inevitably, when you’re in a war zone there are number of elements on the ground who need to be engaged,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said.

Sunday's negotiations follow a cease-fire reached Tuesday between Assad's forces and rebel groups occupying eastern Aleppo. 

However, that cease-fire was quickly breached, with reports of rockets being fired into eastern Aleppo, and evacuations were postponed.  On Sunday, rebel forces' torched of six buses that would have evacuated sick and wounded civilians from Syrian villages the same day, the BBC reports.

Half of Syria's population of 22 million people have been displaced and over 400,000 have been killed since the war began in 2011, Reuters reports.

Power expects the measure to pass unanimously.

She hopes U.N. monitors and those from rescue groups like the Red Cross will be deployed immediately to help civilians leave Aleppo by bus as a result, the Times reports.