A day after the United Nations humanitarian chief announced his organisation had to abort its plan to evacuate injured and sick people from war-torn eastern Aleppo in Syria, the Russian defence ministry has said the humanitarian corridor in the area is still operational.
In a statement issued on Monday (24 October), UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, said he "deeply regretted" that no patients or their family members could be evacuated from the area despite having concrete plans in place.
He said that the UN and its partners "engaged in long and demanding negotiations, and endless rounds of clarifications on conditions and guarantees with all parties".
However, the evacuations could not be carried out because of several factors, "including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo, conditions placed by non-State armed groups and the Government of Syria's objection to allowing medical and other relief supplies into the eastern part of the city".
"After three days of lull, parties to the conflict have still not agreed, military operations have resumed and violence is now escalating.
"I am outraged that the fate of vulnerable civilians [...] rests mercilessly in the hands of parties who have consistently and unashamedly failed to put them above narrow political and military interests," he said.
On Tuesday, 25 October, the Russian defence ministry reportedly issued a statement confirming that neither their planes nor any Syrian planes flew over eastern Aleppo in the past seven days. The statement added that 48 women and children left the city late on Monday from the six operational humanitarian corridors, Reuters reported.
People living in the eastern part of Aleppo have been deprived of crucial medical facilities and humanitarian aid since July when government forces and their allies placed the area under siege. O'Brien insisted that the situation in the city is "an unparalleled humanitarian catastrophe".