Friday 21 July 2017

Red Cross asks for quick agreement on Aleppo evacuation plan

Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carrying a girl on stretcher, while arriving in western rural Aleppo. Photo: AP
Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carrying a girl on stretcher, while arriving in western rural Aleppo. Photo: AP
People wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo, Syria. Photo: Reuters
Conflicts in the world, like the one in Syria, show we have a lot to be thankful for. Photo: Getty
Residents gather near green government buses for evacuation from eastern Aleppo, Syria. Photo: AP
Rebel fighters sit on the rubble of damaged buildings as they wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo, Syria. Photo: Reuters
Boys react as they sit on belongings and wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo. Photo: Reuters

Lisa Barrington

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) asked Syria's warring parties to quickly agree on a plan to evacuate people from east Aleppo and provide "solid" safety guarantees of on Saturday, a day after the evacuation stalled on Friday.

"We're ready to resume facilitating the evacuation according to our humanitarian mandate. But we now expect all the parties on the ground to provide us with solid guarantees in order to keep the operation going. They're the ones who have to protect the people and provide safe passage," said ICRC head in Syria Marianne Gasser in a statement from Aleppo.

The ICRC said thousands of cold and scared people including women, children, the sick and injured, remain in eastern Aleppo waiting for the evacuation operation to continue.

"People are expecting us to continue the evacuation. It's important that the parties on the ground do their utmost to end this limbo," Gasser said. "People have suffered a lot. Please come to an agreement and help save thousands of lives."

Children walk together as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Children walk together as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
A Syrian man carries his sister who was wounded after a government airstrike hit the neighborhood of Ansari, in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Abdullah al-Yassin, File)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
Smoke rises following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions, in eastern Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
In this image from video, people march toward the Russian consulate in Istanbul Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 to protest against Russia's involvement in the Syrian government's push to retake rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo. (DHA via AP)
A general view shows the damage inside the Umayyad mosque, in the government-controlled area of Aleppo, during a media tour, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Boys stand amid the damage in the government-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, during a media tour, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk inside Aleppo's historic citadel, during a media tour, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad stand inside the Umayyad mosque, in the government-controlled area of Aleppo, during a media tour, Syria December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)
This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen marching walk inside the destroyed Grand Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (SANA via AP)

The ICRC said it had already managed to evacuate around 10,000 people, many of whom were in a critical medical condition.

The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Syria Elizabeth Hoff, speaking from west Aleppo, told Reuters she was not sure there was time for the evacuations to begin today.

"It is a quarter past one in the afternoon already. The Russians (who are overseeing the operation) are not keen on working through the night," Hoff said.

The WHO and other aid workers are not yet present at the transit point in east Aleppo, Hoff said.

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