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