U.N. ap­proves mon­i­tors for evac­u­a­tion

Rus­sia, Iran seek po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment in Syria.

The Times-Tribune - - World -

BEIRUT — The lead­ers of Rus­sia and Iran, mil­i­tary al­lies of Syria’s pres­i­dent, talked Mon­day about join­ing forces to reach a quick po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment in Syria, as the coun­try’s largest city, Aleppo, was poised to re­turn to full gov­ern­ment con­trol.

Syr­ian state TV said it ex­pected the evac­u­a­tion of thou­sands of civil­ians and fight­ers from the last op­po­si­tion footholds in Aleppo to be com­pleted by early today.

As more peo­ple left the city, the U.N. Se­cu­rity coun­cil ap­proved a com­pro­mise French-Rus­sian res­o­lu­tion urg­ing the im­me­di­ate de­ploy­ment of U.N. mon­i­tors to watch over the evac­u­a­tion and “the well-be­ing of civil­ians” re­main­ing in the city. U.N. of­fi­cials said more than 100 U.N. hu­man­i­tar­ian staff al­ready on the ground in Aleppo, most of them Syr­ian na­tion­als, could be used in that role.

France’s U.N. Am­bas­sador Fran­cois De­lat­tre said the goal of the res­o­lu­tion is “to avoid new mass atroc­i­ties by the forces on the ground and the mili­tias in par­tic­u­lar.” But thou­sands of peo­ple have al­ready been evac­u­ated from the city and the op­er­a­tion could be com­pleted be­fore the ob­servers ar­rive.

The de­par­ture of the last rebels from Aleppo would close an­other chap­ter in Syria’s civil war and would give Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad a significan­t sym­bolic and strate­gic vic­tory.

SETH WENIG / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Syria’s Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Bashar Jaa­fari speaks to re­porters Mon­day af­ter a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing at U.N. head­quar­ters.

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