The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today on Syria after a UN envoy warned that eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed in the next few months by the Russian and Syrian air campaign. Russia requested the meeting to hear from UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, who will brief the council via videoconference from Geneva at 1400 GMT, diplomats said. De Mistura earlier took aim at Russia, suggesting that Moscow was indiscriminately bombing a city with hundreds of thousands of civilians to flush out just a few hundred jihadists.
“We are talking about 900 people, basically, who are becoming the main reason for which there is 275,000 people actually being attacked,” said de Mistura. Would this, he asked, be the excuse for “the destruction of the city?” “In maximum two months, two-and-a-half months, the city of eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed,” he told reporters. The envoy urged fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front — which renamed itself Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking with Al-Qaeda — to leave Aleppo under a deal to halt the regime’s attacks on the city.
“If you decide to leave with dignity… I am personally ready to physically accompany you,” he said. Security Council members were discussing a French-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo. After holding talks in Moscow on the proposal, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will head to Washington on Friday to discuss the measure, which calls for ending all flights over Aleppo. French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters that “we have a strong determination to go to a vote” on the draft resolution, which could lead Russia to use its veto power as a permanent member of the council.