UN council to hold meeting on Aleppo crisis: Diplomats

Syrians who were living in the rebel-held side of Aleppo are seen after nearly 50 people fled the rebel held eastern districts of the battered city into the government-controlled west on Oct 24, 2016.
Syrians who were living in the rebel-held side of Aleppo are seen after nearly 50 people fled the rebel held eastern districts of the battered city into the government-controlled west on Oct 24, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday (Nov 29) or Wednesday (Nov 30) on the dire humanitarian crisis unfolding in Aleppo, diplomats said.

France's UN ambassador Francois Delattre said Tuesday that Paris is working with the government of Senegal, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the council, to convene the meeting on providing relief to the besieged Syrian city.

"We hope we'll be able to schedule it by tomorrow," Delattre told reporters.

"France and its partners cannot remain silent in the face of what could be the biggest massacre of civilian population since World War II," the French diplomat added.

"We need to find a way to get the humanitarian aid to the population." France called for an immediate UN Security Council session amid fighting that has seen the Syrian army capture a third of opposition-controlled east Aleppo in recent days.

Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, voiced support for the emergency meeting.

He said the council would discuss plans for the UN to deliver much-needed food and medicine into Aleppo and evacuate the sick and wounded.

"Russia complained that the opposition had not agreed to this plan. Now they have, so I call on Russia to make sure the Syrian regime agrees," Rycroft said.

"The future of Aleppo is in the hands of the regime and Russia, and we urge the regime and Russia to stop the bombing and let the aid go through." Diplomats hope to finally address the need for desperately needed assistance to the city, which is besieged by a government offensive trying to recapture parts of it held by rebels.

Fighting has prompted an exodus of terrified civilians, many fleeing empty-handed into remaining rebel-held territory, or crossing into government-controlled western Aleppo or Kurdish districts.

The UN has said nearly 16,000 people have fled the assault and more could follow.