Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (15 December) on the situation in Aleppo:
The fact that evacuations have now started from the last streets still held by the opposition in eastern Aleppo and the first convoys of civilians and fighters have left the destroyed city is more than we could expect following yesterday’s political deadlock.
In these dark days and hours, we are glad about every life saved, every life that is not lost in the bombed and devastated city.
It is now crucial that there be no attacks, acts of violence or revenge against the civilian population or members of civilian aid structures such as the White Helmets, regardless of whether they are men, women or children.
The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross must be able to do their work, which is vital at this time in particular, without restrictions or obstacles. This was not the case today either.
The Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian supporters have a responsibility to ensure people’s care and safety.
We must now provide humanitarian aid to the people in Aleppo who have escaped from the fighting. They need food, safe water and shelter from the cold. This is the absolute priority. Humanitarian aid is on hand and aid workers are on the ground, thanks in large part to support from Germany. The aid workers simply must be allowed to do their job.
The responsibility for this lies in Damascus, Moscow and Tehran. We will not avert our eyes. There was never any justification for destroying Aleppo. Now, more than ever, lives must be saved.