France Eiffel tower’s lights put out in solidarity with Aleppo civilians

Paris: Lights of the Eiffel Tower were put out on Wednesday in solidarity with civilians in Aleppo where renewed fighting put at risk a truce deal to evacuate people and rebel fighters, according to Paris authorities.

“Tonight at 8.00 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), the Eiffel Tower will go dark in a symbolic recall of Paris city’s support to Aleppo and its citizens,” Xinhua news agency quoted Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo as saying in a tweet.

Following a ceasefire brokered by Moscow and Ankara, rebel fighters agreed on Tuesday to leave the eastern Aleppo area, with the evacuation due to begin earlier on Wednesday.

However, renewed shelling broke calm in the Syrian city and prompted a delay in the evacuation plan.

The situation in Aleppo has worsened rapidly after a truce accord collapsed in September, triggering an international outcry to stop hostilities in the strategically-located Syrian city which has been contested by the government forces and rebels since 2012.

Chairing a defence council earlier on Wednesday, French President Francois Holland asked for the presence of United Nations observers to ensure the Aleppo evacuation “in dignity”.

“Immediate and unconditional aid and protection must be provided to all citizens in Aleppo’s eastern part, without discrimination and in accordance with international humanitarian law,” Hollande said.