15 December 201619:07

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo

2355-15-12-2016

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Russia continues to do its best to de-escalate tensions and resolve the acute humanitarian problems in Syria, especially in Aleppo.

In order to avoid casualties, particularly among civilians, hostilities have been suspended, and fighters and their families started leaving eastern Aleppo on December 15. In accordance with the agreement, all members of illegal armed groups leaving Aleppo are guaranteed safety.

A 21-km long humanitarian corridor was arranged, with 6 kilometres in Aleppo which is now occupied by Syrian government forces, and 15 kilometres going west across the area controlled by illegal armed groups. The evacuation involves 20 passenger buses, 10 ambulances, and about 100 automobiles used by militants. More than 4,000 people have already left eastern Aleppo.

Meanwhile, massive humanitarian aid is being provided to civilian victims of the conflict. Russia’s Defence Ministry and Emergencies Ministry have sent humanitarian aid to Syria, including food, medicine, everyday items, tents and generators. In recent days, the bulk of humanitarian aid from Russia has been going to Aleppo.

Additionally, a unit of the International Mine Action Centre of the Russian Armed Forces was airlifted to Aleppo in early December. The military engineers have started demining eastern Aleppo following its liberation by the Syrian Army. Several dozen hectares in the city, including more than 20 socially important civilian facilities, such as schools, hospitals, power substation, water pumping stations, bakeries and mosques, have been fully cleared of mines and explosives.

Russian doctors from mobile hospitals operated by the Defence Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry continue to provide medical assistance to Syrians.

We urge the relevant authorities of the UN humanitarian segment to actively and immediately engage in providing much needed humanitarian aid to Syrians, in particular, the residents of Aleppo, which has been liberated from the terrorist and extremist gangs. We hear a lot of concerned voices in Western capitals about the suffering of the civilians, but there’s no real action coming from them in terms of providing emergency humanitarian aid. The time has come to go from words to actions, if those whose hearts bleed for the humanitarian plight of the Syrian population are truly committed to it.

Once again, we would like to remind UN personnel about the need to follow the well-known principles underlying the provision of humanitarian aid, including respect for sovereignty, neutrality, and impartiality. We consider it completely unacceptable when certain senior UN Secretariat officials become part of the propaganda campaign unleashed by a number of Western countries, which is aimed at discrediting the anti-terrorist efforts of the Syrian authorities and the Russian Aerospace Forces, smearing our humanitarian efforts, and circulating unverified information, occasionally outright fake stories. Meanwhile, the UN-led humanitarian operations come with absolutely incredible and obviously impracticable conditions, the purpose of which is obvious – to once again subject the Syrian government to abuse. We hope that the UN administrative staff will abandon the political games surrounding Syrian humanitarian aid and instead perform their immediate duties.

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