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UN Security Council to vote on France’s Aleppo proposal

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The UN Security Council (UNSC) is set to vote on a French-drafted proposal allegedly aimed at facilitating evacuations from Aleppo and aid transfer to the northwestern Syrian city.

The session, scheduled to be held at 11:00 New York time (1600 GMT), is set to vote on the draft resolution to reintroduce a UN regime of monitoring the developments in Aleppo.

According to reports, the document expresses “alarm” at the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, adding that “tens of thousands of besieged inhabitants” there require aid and evacuation.

The Syrian government managed to recapture the city recently after weeks of lightning advances and blistering attacks against foreign-backed militants, who had been holding its eastern side since 2012.

In a Friday interview with Press TV, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari slammed the West’s recent initiatives at the United Nations over the situation in Syria as the “saddest images of diplomatic and political hypocrisy.”

He made the comments a few hours after reports emerged that France was drafting a UNSC resolution on Aleppo.

In late November, when the Syrian government was making great strides against the militants in Aleppo, France, which is a staunch supporter of Takfiri militants in Syria, called for a UNSC meeting to discuss mandating a “ceasefire” in Aleppo.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said at the time, “More than ever before, we need to urgently put in place means to end the hostilities and to allow humanitarian aid to get through unhindered.”

However, Russia, which has been supporting Damascus against the militants with airstrikes since last September, says countries opposing Assad are using the issues of truce and aid delivery to advance their own political agendas.

On November 30, after the French call for a meeting on Syria, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the Aleppo issue was becoming highly politicized as most UN humanitarian aid was going to areas occupied by foreign-backed militants.

Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said only one percent of the UN aid supplies was being directed to the western city of Dayr al-Zawr, where at least 200,000 people, trapped by the Daesh Takfiri terror group, remain in desperate need of help.

She added that most UN aid was being sent to militant-held areas, including areas controlled by the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

Militants, Syria carving new evacuation deal

Recently, Russia and Turkey, which supports anti-Syria militants, reached a deal enabling the evacuation of civilians and militants from Aleppo. The agreement ushered in thousands of evacuations.

An elderly Syrian woman in a wheelchair waits next to a bus during an evacuation operation from Syria’s second largest city of Aleppo, December 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The process was however halted after militants violated the ceasefire deal and blocked the transfer of civilians from the villages of Kefrya and Foua in Idlib Province.

On Saturday, it was reported that the government and militants were working on a new deal to resume the evacuations from the villages as well as two towns near the Lebanese border.

A Syrian government official, who was part of the evacuations negotiating team, said, “It was agreed to resume evacuations from east Aleppo in parallel with the evacuation of (medical) cases from Kefraya and al-Foua and some cases from Zabadani and Madaya.”

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was working with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to try to start a new round of Syrian peace talks aimed at securing a nationwide ceasefire.

[This item is being updated.]

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