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In short: the UN are ready to evacuate the remaining 100 000 citizens in East Aleppo, they have a plan in place. The armed groups are on board, the only obstacle is Russian consent. This could be the difference between a massacre and some sort of ordered evacuation.
If you live in London please consider arranging some sort of vigil / rally outside Downing Street and wherever you live try calling the Russian Embassy or think of a way to apply whatever pressure you can onto those continuing the bombardment of an ever shrinking ever more densely populated urban space.
Press statement – 24 hours for 100 000 lives
Press conference of a French parliamentary delegation at 7PM Turkish time in Gaziantep
This morning in Gaziantep, Turkey, a solidarity delegation including French members of Parliament Cécile Duflot, Hervé Mariton and Patrick Mennucci as well as Jacques Boutault the Mayor of the 2nd district of Paris and lawyer Arie Alimi met the UN’s chief humanitarian leaders on Syria.
These meetings have confirmed to us that all the means necessary for a humanitarian intervention in eastern Aleppo are ready to be deployed.
The UN’s humanitarian leaders indicate that an evacuation of the 100,000 civilians remaining in eastern Aleppo is possible within hours and that this operation would only require 24 hours to complete. The medical and transportation logistics are ready. The UN is only awaiting the go-ahead for the start of the operation.
The evacuation could be undertaken by foot as there is only 4km of land to cross in order to cross the regime-held territory. Vehicles and ambulances are equally ready to evacuate the injured and the sick.
The UN also informed the delegation that the armed opposition groups are not blocking the evacuation of civilians, and that this is unanimously recognized.
It was also made clear during our discussion that the only impediment to the implementation of this emergency plan is coming from the Russian authorities. The UN is unable to intervene and undertake an emergency humanitarian plan as long as the bombardments are not suspended for 24 hours.
A crime against humanity is unfolding in eastern Aleppo as the US Secretary of State John Kerry has recently highlighted. It is also inconceivable that world leaders continue to deplore the deadlock, and wait tens of years to possibly bring those responsible for the massacre to the International Criminal Court.
The question is therefore whether the Russian authorities will be ready to let the UN intervene before the end of the week, and let the civilians evacuate the city in security. If this is not the case, France, Germany, the UK and the USA and other international powers must envisage an intervention in order to secure the humanitarian corridor of 4km for 24 hours.
The lives of a hundred thousand children, women and men who strive to survive despite a deluge of bombs over them for the past 130 days are at stake. Humanity is being buried alive in Aleppo. We must stand up and not concede to this.