Russia says Aleppo evacuation deal does not apply to civilians

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin addresses the United Nations Security Council during a high level meeting on Syria at the United Nations in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia’s envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday that a deal for rebel fighters to leave their last pocket of territory in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo did not apply to civilians.

Going into a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Vitaly Churkin said: “Now it’s going to be under the control of the Syrian government, so there is no need for the remaining civilians to leave and there are humanitarian arrangements in place.

“Our military people who are there are not observing any abuses of international humanitarian law.

“The agreement is for the fighters to leave. The civilians, they can stay, they can go to safe places, they can take advantage of the humanitarian arrangements that are on the ground. Nobody is going to harm the civilians.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Mark Trevelyan