UN: Syrian Conflict Sides Must Follow Russia in 48-Hour Aleppo Ceasefire

Main entrance road in southwest Aleppo, Salaheddin district

 

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said that the United Nations welcomes Russia’s commitment to a 48-hour ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo but needs more assurances from other parties before it can bring humanitarian aid into the besieged areas of the city.

The United Nations welcomes Russia’s commitment to a 48-hour ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo but needs more assurances from other parties before it can bring humanitarian aid into the besieged areas of the city, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said Monday.On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry welcomed a proposal brought forward by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura for a 48-hour pause in fighting in Aleppo, and expressed readiness to implement next week the first 48-hour humanitarian pause to supply the city with aid as a pilot project.

“So, I welcome the announcement by the Russian Federation on 18 August to support the call for a 48-hour ceasefire. We are clear that anything shorter would not allow us to respond meaningfully to the size of the need we are facing either in Eastern or Western Aleppo today. While this statement is positive, this cannot be a one-sided offer,” O’Brien said at a UN Security Council briefing.

All areas of the city must be accessible to UN aid, he stressed, adding that the UN emergency relief office is currently working with all sides to prepare ground for a humanitarian operation in case the ceasefire is implemented.

Fighting in Aleppo has escalated over the past few weeks, with the Syrian army and local militia forces having managed to encircle large groups of militants in eastern districts of Aleppo.

In mid-August, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said that between 250,000 and 275,000 people were trapped in eastern Aleppo following the July closure of Castello Road amid heavy fighting in the area.

Aleppo has been under siege by militant groups, including as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, classified as terrorist organization in Russia.

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