Bloodbath in Aleppo must stop

'The bloodbath in Aleppo must stop. Reports from the UN of civilians and aid workers being summarily executed over the last 24 hours give cause for serious concern. I hope that the agreement that has apparently been reached on the evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo will help to end the atrocities,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Rebel groups and Russia have both confirmed that an agreement has been entered into on the evacuation of eastern Aleppo. Under this agreement, civilians and rebel fighters are to be allowed to leave the besieged part of the city. The agreement was reached after the bloodiest 24 hours in eastern Aleppo since the siege started.

Civilians have been under heavy fire, both from airstrikes and from artillery on the ground, without any opportunity to flee. The UN has reported that several dozen men, women and children have been executed on the streets or in their homes. Civilians have reportedly also been subjected to severe abuse and torture.

'Civilians are entitled to protection from acts of war. I urge the parties in the strongest terms to comply with the agreement that has now been entered into. It is also crucial to allow humanitarian aid into all the areas where people are in need of help,' said Mr Brende.

The civil war in Syria has now entered its sixth year. As a result of the war, more than 13.5 million people are now in need, and millions of Syrians have fled their homes.

'Terrorising the civilian population and preventing those in need from receiving vital humanitarian aid can be regarded as war crimes. It is crucial that killings and other abuses are documented so that the perpetrators can be prosecuted. The Syrian population needs protection and political solutions to the conflict, not more death and suffering,' said Mr Brende.