GENEVA (Sputnik) – The United Nations is in intensive talks with the sides to the conflict in Syria, as well as Russia and the United States on introduction of a new humanitarian pause in eastern Aleppo, Senior Adviser to UN Special Envoy for Syria Jan Egeland told Sputnik on Friday.
"We are now in intense diplomatic contact with the Russian Federation, with the government of Syria and with the armed opposition groups inside east Aleppo, as well as with the US and other countries supporting the opposition with the aim of having all sides agree to the UN humanitarian plan for east Aleppo," Egeland said.
"Both are important, equally important, and we need both immediately … And we have not yet got the green light from the Russian and the government of Syria sides, but we have very positive signals from the Russian side given within the ISSG [International Syria Support Group], saying that they are considering this favorably … So we are urging them to come with a formal positive green light as soon as possible," the official said.
According to Egeland, after the official positive response has been received from all sides, preparation of a humanitarian operation will take 72 hours.
"To do all of the assistance needed, all of the evacuations needed we do need several days, up to a week … But we can discuss the details, the length of the pause when we have green light to do the pause and all the elements," he told Sputnik.
Regarding evacuations from the encircled militant-held areas of east Aleppo, the adviser said that the United Nations estimates up to 300 people are ready to leave the city.
"The total would be several hundred, I think, but we don't have the updated figure. At an earlier stage, it was 200-300 that needed evacuation. That could be higher now, but the number that was prepared for evacuation was lower at that time because there were many problems… with these pauses with both sides, also with the opposition side in east Aleppo," Egeland said, adding that two days are needed for evacuating the injured.
Over recent months, Aleppo has been a major battleground in Syria, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Militant-held eastern Aleppo is encircled by government forces and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city. The previous ceasefire failed in September after government forces renewed their offensive in response to militant violations.