UN Syria en­voy warns Aleppo could be ‘de­stroyed’ this year

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

The U.N. en­voy for Syria called on al-Qaida-linked mil­i­tants to leave the em­bat­tled city of Aleppo in ex­change for an end to govern­ment and Rus­sian bom­bard­ment, warn­ing Thurs­day that thou­sands of civil­ians could be killed and the his­toric city “de­stroyed” by year end if con­di­tions do not soon change.

Spe­cial en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura urged fight­ers from Fatah al-Sham Front to leave the city in ex­change for peace. The group was pre­vi­ously known as Nusra Front and changed its name af­ter an­nounc­ing it had split from al-Qaida ear­lier this year. The U.N. con­sid­ers it a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. De Mis­tura en­treated both sides to “look at my eyes” be­fore of­fer­ing to “per­son­ally” es­cort the fight­ers to a refuge of their choos­ing, pro­vided they agree to lay down their arms. The com­bined Syr­ian govern­ment and Rus­sian bom­bard­ment of the city’s rebel-held east has killed 376 peo­ple over the last two weeks, the en­voy said.

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