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UN aborts plan to evacuate patients from Aleppo

The remains of a building after Russians carried out airstrikes in Aleppo on October 17, 2016. [Jawad al Rifai - Anadolu Agency]
The remains of a building after Russians carried out airstrikes in Aleppo on October 17, 2016. [Jawad al Rifai - Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations has abandoned plans to evacuate patients from besieged opposition-held east Aleppo which it had hoped to accomplish during a three day lull in fighting last week, blaming all parties to the conflict for obstructing efforts.

"The evacuations were obstructed by various factors, including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo, conditions placed by non-state armed groups and the government of Syria's objection to allowing medical and other relief supplies into the eastern part of the city," UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien said in a statement yesterday.

O'Brien said no patients and family members were evacuated during the three-day Russian unilateral ceasefire last week which ended on Saturday with a resumption of airstrikes and a surge in ground fighting.

"I am outraged that the fate of vulnerable civilians – sick and injured people, children and the elderly, all in need of critical and life-saving support – rests mercilessly in the hands of parties who have consistently and unashamedly failed to put them above narrow political and military interests," he said.

The UN has been unable to access east Aleppo since July, when Syrian government and allied forces put the eastern part of the city under siege.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Russian and Syrian military planes have not bombed Aleppo for the last seven days or even flown over the devastated city.

In a statement, it said six humanitarian corridors in eastern Aleppo which have been opened to allow civilians to flee were still operating and that 48 women and children left the city late yesterday.

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsRussiaSyriaUN
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