France struck a compromise Sunday with Russia on a UN resolution that it said would prevent "mass atrocities" in besieged areas of Aleppo, where thousands of trapped civilians and rebel fighters await evacuation in freezing temperatures, reports the AP. The resolution to deploy UN monitors to eastern Aleppo to ensure safe evacuations and immediate delivery of humanitarian aid will be voted on by the Security Council at 9am ET Monday, says France's UN ambassador, Francois Delattre. He said some countries want to report to their capitals overnight. He said he hoped for a positive vote, but that he remained cautious.
Meanwhile on the ground, prospects for swift evacuations from Aleppo and other besieged areas were thrown into doubt again Sunday after militants burned buses assigned to the rescue operation. The Aleppo evacuations were to have been part of a wider deal that would simultaneously allow more than 2,000 sick and wounded people to leave two pro-government villages that have been besieged by Syrian rebels. Six buses that were among those poised to enter the villages of Foua and Kfarya on Sunday were set on fire by unidentified militants, presumably to scuttle any deal. About 2,700 children were evacuated from Aleppo in the first rescue mission earlier this week, but hundreds more "are now waiting in freezing temperatures, close to the front lines," says a UNICEF rep. "We are deeply worried." (Read more Syria stories.)