UN approves monitors for Aleppo evacuation

Alarmed at the "devastating" humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, where thousands of civilians remain trapped, the Security Council Dec. 19 called on the United Nations to carry out "neutral monitoring and direct observation on evacuations from the eastern districts" of the war-ravaged city. The unanimously adopted resolution requested immediate deployment of staff for monitoring and reporting on the evacuations. The French-led resolution also calls on all parties to respect and protect all medical and humanitarian personnel, "their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the country." The vote came as thousands of civilians awaited resumption of evacuations.

The decision comes after the Council's two most recent attempts to take action on Syria. On Oct. 8, Russia vetoed a resolution that would have called for an end to military flights over Aleppo; and on Dec. 5, a measure calling for a seven-day ceasefire in the city failed to pass after vetoes by both China and Russia. In all, Russia has vetoed six texts on the Syrian conflict, while China has vetoed five of those six. (UN News Centre, Dec. 19)

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