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City leader urges 'safe corridor' for Aleppo civilians

AFP , Wednesday 30 Nov 2016
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The head of a local council in the east of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday called for a "safe corridor" to allow desperate civilians to flee.

"Let the civilians leave, protect the civilians, put in place a safe corridor so they can leave," Brita Hagi Hassan said after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris.

More than 50,000 Syrians have joined a growing exodus of terrified civilians from eastern Aleppo as government forces press on with an assault on rebel-held areas of the divided city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday.

The UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later Wednesday on the situation, receiving a briefing from a UN humanitarian official and the UN's peace envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Syria's opposition National Coalition said it was working with France on a draft UN resolution seeking an immediate ceasefire in Aleppo, although Russia -- a staunch ally of Damascus -- was likely to veto such a proposal.

Government forces now hold at least a third of eastern Aleppo, and are pressing ahead with an assault that could deal rebels their worst blow since the conflict began.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests calling for President Bashar al-Assad's ouster.

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