A building severely damaged by an airstrike in Aleppo City, Syria. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell

The Battle for Aleppo is Over

The battle is over. “As the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad advanced on the last rebel-held section of Aleppo, aid groups and activists described horrific scenes of death and bloodshed. Now rebel groups say a truce has been reached with Russia, and there’s hope that civilian evacuations will be possible on Tuesday night. “A rebel spokesman says a deal has been reached whereby fighters and civilians in the last rebel holdout will be able to leave,” NPR’s Alice Fordham reports. “The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says Russia and Turkey have facilitated talks, and people inside Aleppo say fighting has now stopped and they hope the evacuation will begin tonight…The news of a cease-fire comes after days of horror in east Aleppo. U.N. agencies say they have received reports of indiscriminate killings and children under fire, and aid groups are desperately calling for parties to observe “the basic rules of warfare — and of humanity,” as the International Committee of the Red Cross put it.” (NPR http://n.pr/2hKPdqy)

It’s about time…The United States is terminating some sales of military arms to Saudi Arabia over concerns about the killing of civilians in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday, while ramping up support for Saudi’s border defenses and other intelligence-sharing. (AP https://yhoo.it/2gF4g9u)

Famine in Nigeria? More than 2,000 people may have died of famine this year in parts of northeast Nigeria which cannot be reached by aid agencies due to an insurgency by Islamic militant group Boko Haram, hunger experts said on Tuesday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2hsaENR)

Quote of the Day…“We have agreed globally to end child labor and to end trafficking and all forms of modern slavery, but we have to do it now. We need very practical steps to break the criminal trafficking rings, to support poor communities by giving kids a real chance through proper healthcare and schools, and to ensure legislation and its enforcement is strengthened.” – Jeff Sachs (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2gX83uV)

Syria in focus

France called for an immediate U.N. Security Council resolution to discuss alleged atrocities being carried out in eastern Aleppo, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2hs07lV)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stands ready to act as a neutral intermediary in an evacuation from eastern Aleppo being negotiated by various parties, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2hqk3bB)

The European Union will not pay towards rebuilding post-war Syria if Moscow and Damascus leave no space in the future for opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s government, according to a draft joint statement from the EU’s 28 leaders. (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2gIp4es)