Empty buses that are going to be used to evacuated Syrians from eastern Aleppo enter the embattled city through the Ramoussa crossing, on the southern outskirts of Aleppo, on December 20, 2016. AFP / GEORGE OURFALIAN
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UNITED NATIONS: The warning from the U.N. envoy could not have been starker: Pounded by a near-daily barrage of airstrikes, Aleppo would be totally destroyed by Christmas unless the United Nations stopped the carnage.Two Russian vetos at the Security Council blocked attempts to halt the bombing and spare civilians as U.N. statements professing that there can be no military solution to the devastating 5-year-old war rang hollow.There are also recriminations against Western powers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the broader U.N. system that has been unable to bring humanitarian aid to 1 million Syrians under siege.Ban, who steps down next week after 10 years as U.N. chief, has defended the world body's handling of the Syria crisis even though the war escalated under this watch.Antonio Guterres, who will succeed Ban on Jan. 1, will inherit the U.N. failure in Syria.For many diplomats, Aleppo joins Rwanda and Srebrenica on the list of major U.N. failures, marking another low in the world body's 71-year history.
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