World Bulletin / News Desk
The UN Security Council will vote Monday on a resolution demanding a temporary ceasefire in Aleppo and humanitarian access to residents trapped in the fighting, diplomats said on Sunday.
Egypt, New Zealand and Spain drew up the text calling for a truce of at least seven days following lengthy negotiations with a highly resistant Russia, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Spain has just taken over the council's rotating presidency for the month of December.
Despite concessions by the resolution's drafters -- an early version demanded a 10-day truce -- it remains uncertain whether Moscow will use its veto in the council to torpedo the measure.
The draft resolution stipulates that "all parties to the Syrian conflict shall immediately cease any attacks in the city of Aleppo to allow urgent humanitarian needs to be addressed" for an initial period of seven days that could be extended.
It also calls for allowing relief supplies to reach the tens of thousands of residents under siege inside the rebel-held eastern part of the city.
The resolution envisages the temporary ceasefire developing into a cessation of hostilities across Syria.
In a parallel move, Canada -- acting on behalf of 74 of the UN's 193 member countries -- has requested a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly to vote on another resolution on humanitarian aid in Aleppo.
Although no date has been set for the meeting so far, it could take place in the coming days.
There is no veto in the assembly, unlike the Security Council, but its decisions are not binding.
However, the assembly can exert pressure for action, and a provision dating back to 1950 enables it to take over from the Security Council when it is too divided to act.
Assad's forces and their allies are continuing to advance on Aleppo's rebel-held districts, with control of some 60 percent of the city so far, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
The fighting has killed at least 311 civilians, 42 of them children, in east Aleppo since the start of the Syrian regime's latest offensive on November 15, the British-based monitor says, while rebel fire has killed nearly 70 people in the city's government-held west.
The onslaught has forced more than 50,000 of Aleppo's 250,000 residents to flee, the observatory says, and caused horrific destruction.
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