UN envoy warns east Aleppo facing total destruction

2016-10-06 17:10
Syrian government forces have captured a rebel-held area on the edge of Aleppo, tightening their siege on opposition-held neighbourhoods. (Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets via AP)

Syrian government forces have captured a rebel-held area on the edge of Aleppo, tightening their siege on opposition-held neighbourhoods. (Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets via AP)

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Geneva - The UN's Syria envoy on Thursday made an impassioned appeal to save eastern Aleppo, warning the city faced total destruction and urging Islamist fighters to leave so civilians can get aid.

"In maximum two months, two and half months the city of eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed," Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.

The rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo has been hammered by a Russian-backed government offensive, including multiple attacks on hospitals.

De Mistura noted that the presence of Al-Nusra fighters in the city has been used as a justification by Moscow and Damascus for the continued assault.

The former Al-Nusra Front has recently changed its name to Fateh al-Sham Front following a break with al-Qaeda, but many still see the two groups as tied.

"Can you please look at my eyes," de Mistura said in a direct appeal to Nusra leaders, before pleading with them to quit Aleppo.

"If you decide to leave with dignity, I am personally ready to physically accompany you," the UN envoy said.

The UN estimates that 275 000 civilians are under siege in east Aleppo, with aid deliveries all but impossible since government forces seized the last supply route in July.

Read more on:    un  |  syria  |  syria conflict

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