France urges in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tor­ing of Aleppo evac­u­a­tion

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

French Pres­i­dent Francois Hol­lande yes­ter­day joined calls for in­ter­na­tional ob­servers to over­see the evac­u­a­tion of civil­ians trapped un­der fire in the wrecked Syr­ian city of Aleppo.

At a meet­ing with his de­fense cabi­net, Hol­lande said those trapped by the fight­ing should “be evac­u­ated in a dig­ni­fied and safe man­ner, un­der the su­per­vi­sion of in­ter­na­tional ob­servers and in the pres­ence of hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tions,” the pres­i­dency said in a state­ment.

Hol­lande also de­manded that the pop­u­la­tion of east­ern Aleppo re­ceive “un­con­di­tional aid and pro­tec­tion” and said only a ne­go­ti­ated po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion could lead to “a last­ing vic­tory over ter­ror­ism” in Syria.

The French state­ment echoed a call by the US Am­bas­sador to the UN Sa­man­tha Power, who said Tues­day that for­eign ob­servers should be al­lowed in to “over­see the safe evac­u­a­tion of the peo­ple who wish to leave but who jus­ti­fi­ably fear that if they try, they will be shot in the street or carted off to one of (Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-) As­sad’s gu­lags.”

Yes­ter­day, Aleppo was rocked anew by fierce clashes, jeop­ar­diz­ing a deal for the evac­u­a­tion of civil­ians and fight­ers from re­main­ing rebel-held ar­eas an­nounced Tues­day. French gov­ern­ment spokesman Stephane Le Foll said France and Ger­many were press­ing for the cre­ation of hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dors al­low­ing civil­ians out and aid agen­cies into the bat­tered city.

He re­jected calls for Hol­lande to take a leaf from late So­cial­ist pres­i­dent Francois Mit­ter­rand’s book by vis­it­ing Aleppo. “Say­ing all you need is for the pres­i­dent to visit Aleppo for ev­ery­thing to be re­solved... is not re­spon­si­ble,” he said.

Mit­ter­rand flew into the be­sieged city of Sara­jevo in 1992, brav­ing shelling and sniper fire to show sol­i­dar­ity with hun­gry, ter­ror­ized civil­ians dur­ing the Bos­nian War. — AFP

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