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UN Approves Aleppo Observers as Evacuations Slowly Begin

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to send observers to monitor evacuations from the besieged city of Aleppo. After hours of closed-door consultations Sunday—as a mere 350 people were reported evacuated after three days of delays—a new draft was agreed upon by all parties, with Russia saying improvements had been made that would allow it to approve the measure. “We put in some good hours of work and I think we have a good text,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Sunday, after Russia had earlier threatened to veto the resolution. The vote was originally scheduled for Sunday, but pushed back to allow for minor changes requested by Moscow. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power predicted that all members would vote unanimously on the resolution on Monday, which would allow for UN monitors to be sent along with members of the ICRC and Syrian Red Crescent to observe “the well-being of civilians” in Aleppo. Evacuations have already suffered a series of setbacks, as gunmen attacked buses meant to transport civilians out of Aleppo on Sunday, postponing the measure. A UN official told Reuters that evacuations finally began from Aleppo late Sunday night, though he had no information about planned evacuations from villages near Idlib.