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Aleppo fighting intensifies as UN blames all sides for failure of Syria evacuation plan

UN chief had warned that no UN aid convoy had entered Aleppo since July 7 and food rations will run out by the end of October. Photograph: (AFP)

WION United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, United States Oct 25, 2016, 12.07 AM (IST)

The United Nations on Monday blamed all sides in Syria after renewed fighting and air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo prevented the medical evacuations and aid deliveries from reaching the war-ravaged city. 

UN aid agencies had held days of negotiations to try to secure safe passage for the sick and wounded, but the effort came to a halt when fighting resumed after three days of truce. 

"It is deeply regrettable that no patients or accompanying family members could be moved," said Stephen O'Brien, the UN's humanitarian aid coordinator. "The evacuations were obstructed by various factors, including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo," he said.

"After three days of lull, parties to the conflict have still not agreed, military operations have resumed and violence is now escalating," said O'Brien in a statement. "The political and military paths are trumping basic humanity once again in Syria."

US secretary of state John too voiced concern to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov days after the Russian-called truce ended. "They talked about the importance of the continued multilateral discussions in Geneva and how ... to get a meaningful cessation of hostilities and the delivery of humanitarian aid," state department spokesman John Kirby said.

Syria's main ally, Moscow had last week declared a humanitarian pause in the assault on eastern Aleppo, where more than 250,000 civilians have been trapped. But Russia had ruled out a renewal of the ceasefire and blamed rebel groups for blocking the medical evacuation.

The two leaders agreed that the negotiations in Geneva to search for ways to resolve the Aleppo crisis will continue.  Lavrov told Kerry the United States must fulfil its obligation to separate moderate opposition groups from "terrorists" in Syria, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

During the phone call, Kerry had expressed concern about the renewal of air strikes and ground attacks in Aleppo by the Syrian government forces and their Russian supporters after a pause in the fighting for several days, Kirby said.

He also noted that humanitarian aid had still not made it through to people under siege in Aleppo, despite the pause in fighting.

No UN aid convoy has entered Aleppo since July 7 and food rations will run out by the end of October, UN chief Ban Ki-moon had warned last week.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 

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