UN agrees compromise draft resolution on Aleppo observers

The UN Security Council is expected to pass the resolution following a vote tomorrow

UN agrees compromise draft resolution on Aleppo observers

Russian United Nations Ambassador Vitaly Churkin addresses reporters at the United Nations headquarters, 18-Dec-2016. Image: Craig Ruttle AP/Press Association Images

The United Nations Security Council has agreed a compromise draft resolution to send independent officials to monitor the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo.

Thousands of civilians remain trapped in the city.

Russia had threatened to veto a French proposal to send observers to the city to monitor evacuations and report on the protection of civilians.

However, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Sunday evening that the council has now agreed a “good text” of a resolution on evacuation monitoring.

"I think we put in some good hours of work and I think we have a good text and we're going to vote tomorrow morning," he said.

The French ambassador Francois Delattre said the compromise resolution would "give us collectively the tools to avoid... a situation in which, after the end of major military operations, forces including militias would commit mass atrocities."

He also said it would "give us some leverage to try to open the way to a broader ceasefire and toward political negotiations."

The new draft asks the UN's secretary general Ban Ki-moon "to take urgent steps to make arrangements, including security arrangements in consultation with interested parties, to allow the observation by the UN and other relevant institutions of the well-being of civilians... inside the eastern districts of Aleppo."

The council is set to vote on the compromise draft resolution Monday and the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power told Reuters she expects the vote to pass unanimously.

The news comes after convoys of buses due to bring people out of two besieged villages in Syria's north west were attacked and set alight.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a bus driver was killed in the attack and the evacuation operation was again put on hold.

Later in the day, more than 30 buses were packed with people hoping for safety and thousands more people stood in the freezing temperatures waiting for their turn.

Fadi Al-Dairi, from the charity Hand in Hand for Syria, said the Syrian and Russian governments have been refusing to let aid into Aleppo.