The United Nations security council has approved the sending in of independent monitors to watch the evacuation of East Aleppo up close. The council is gravely concerned at the potential human rights violations that have and still are taking place in the war torn area, as civilians attempt to leave under a deal struck between the rebels who formerly held the area for four years, and the Russian backed Syrian government forces.
The UN had been alerted to violations in the immediate aftermath of the government retaking the east of the city, which was the last major stronghold of the rebellion that began in 2011 as part of the “Arab spring” where citizens of several Arab nations tried to overthrow their authoritarian governments. While most either succeeded or were put down quickly, Syria’s turned in to a bruising conflict that has cost the lives of thousands of civilians, and the almost complete destruction of several of Syria’s cities. It’s also caused one the largest displacements of people in human history as millions of Syrian’s left the country to avoid being caught up in the horrific civil war.
The UN has now interjected itself in to the evacuation that has stalled on several occasions, as sporadic fighting broke out during a fractious end to the hostilities in east Aleppo. Also buses that were to be used for the evacuations had been burned to prevent the civilians from leaving. The UN has insisted that they’re provided access to medical care and basic resources to look after those leaving the area. They’ve also called on all sides to allow humanitarian workers and medical workers to be protected from harm. Though this is likely to be something of a problem, as several hospitals were targeted with none now remaining functional in east Aleppo. Those with injuries will now need to be healed elsewhere.
The sticking point will be Russia, as it has been through the conflict, they heavily support beleaguered President Bashar Al-Assad, and have vetoed six resolutions thus far on the conflict, including the proposal of a 7 days ceasefire on December the 5th that would’ve allowed civilians to leave unharmed. Thus far this has not happened and evacuations have been consistently disrupted. The UN had also noted that there had been several well sourced reports that Syrian forces were going door to door and indiscriminately killing those they found. They reported that 82 people had been killed like this, with their bodies dumped on the street.
The UN must now prove it has some sway by finding a binding resolution, the continuing hostilities towards civilians trying to leave is another reminder of the lack of humanity shown in this conflict. The people need to be let free, and Syria needs to find a way on the long road back to stability.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.