U.N. Syria humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland says a pause in fighting in and around Aleppo is the only way to create a humanitarian corridor for residents of the besieged city. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Russia is no longer promising a pause in fighting in the besieged east Aleppo in Syria, U.N. Syria humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday. "Russia said they will definitely be discussing with us how to organize the evacuations but they are not any more promising any pause (in fighting)," he said. Five months of negotiations over aid plans have all failed and produced "nothing", Egeland said, adding it was up to the United States and Russia to try to coordinate a deal. As he spoke in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks in Hamburg with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov he was "hopeful" about reaching an agreement with Moscow over Aleppo, but added he was awaiting "certain feedback and input". Opposition groups in eastern Aleppo previously gave mixed signals on how to organize evacuations, but now have dropped their conditions and are simply asking for a pause in the fighting to allow people to leave, Egeland added. Egeland said Russia had been told during the closed-door U.N. meeting that the creation of a humanitarian corridor meant a pause in the fighting. "A humanitarian corridor is only a humanitarian corridor if there is a ceasefire in and around the corridor. There has to be a pause," he said. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have captured the majority of east Aleppo's territory in the past 10 days, but most of the zone's 250,000-275,000 civilians and about 8,000 rebels are still thought to be trapped in the siege. The United Nations has said it estimates about 33,000 people have been displaced in the past 10 days, including about 20,000 going into government-held areas. Egeland said Syrian authorities say they have registered 30,000 in their areas.