UN: Humanitarian Pause in Aleppo to Succeed Only if Supported by All Sides
21:07 18.08.2016(updated 21:08 18.08.2016)
A recently proposed humanitarian pause in Syria's Aleppo could succeed in provision of humanitarian assistance only if all the parties support it, Deputy Spokesperson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Jens Laerke told Sputnik on Thursday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry welcomed UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura's proposal for a 48-hour pause in fighting in the city of Aleppo for UN humanitarian convoys to enter the city. The Russian military expressed readiness to implement the first 48-hour humanitarian pause to supply Aleppo with aid next week, as a "pilot project."
"We take note of today's announcement by the Russian Federation. As we have said consistently, the UN will look at any proposal to mitigate the suffering of the people of Aleppo, but for a humanitarian pause to support the provision of humanitarian assistance it must be agreed by all parties," Laerke said.
He added that it was vitally important to provide a sufficiently long humanitarian pause to deliver aid to those in need and called on all parties to the conflict to allow safe and impartial access to the affected areas.
"The UN calls on all parties to the conflict, under long established and accepted international humanitarian law, to allow safe, unimpeded, impartial humanitarian access. However, to ease the suffering of those civilians in Aleppo and across the country, what is most needed is a fully fledged ceasefire," Laerke said.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.
Aleppo has been mired in intense fighting over the past few months, with the Syrian army and local militia forces having managed to encircle large groups of militants in eastern districts of the city.
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