UN says situation in eastern Aleppo "horrendous"
Date: 2016-11-22 15:54
The United Nations on Tuesday described the situation in the besieged enclave of eastern Aleppo as "horrendous" and "unremittingly awful", following a week of renewed and fierce bombardment on the rebel-held part of the eastern part of city where the U.N. estimates between 250,000 and 275,000 citizens are trapped.
The assault began last Tuesday, after a weeks-long pause in air strikes and shelling inside east Aleppo. At least 141 civilians were killed, including 18 children, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, and the eastern part of the city’s hospitals were devastated.
"The situation in eastern Aleppo is really so horrendous, I mean it is beyond words, I think we are all struggling to say anything new about it, because it is so unremittingly awful, despite the occasional let-ups, overall the picture is horrendous. And the fact that these hospitals and clinics are continuously being hit is a matter of very, very grave concern", the U.N. Human Rights agency’s spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva, repeating again that the attacks on hospitals, if proven deliberate and as part of a systematic pattern, could amount to war crimes.
A few days before the assault started, the United Nations had announced that there were no food rations left for the 275,000 civilians estimated to be besieged in eastern Aleppo.
"It is absolutely heartbreaking and unacceptable that we all are witnessing what is happening on, almost on direct television, directly transmitted, what may amount to war crimes in eastern Aleppo. We need the political actors, and the actors on the ground to create a situation whereby we can implement the UN plan, which you are well aware of, the plan that talks about getting medicines, getting medical personnel, getting food and other kind of relief into eastern Aleppo, safely and securely, and allowing people who are wounded, sick and their family members to be medically evacuated. That is what we need, that is the plan that is there but we need the political actors, the military commanders on the ground to allow this plan to proceed," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesman Jens Laerke said during the news briefing.
On Sunday, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met with ‘Syrian’ Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who rejected the UN four point-plan for eastern Aleppo.
No aid has reached the rebel held part of the city since July, and no civilian has been able to leave following the several fierce airstrike campaign, leaving wounded with life-threatening injuries trapped in the besieged city.
"The plan has been refused but it is not because it has been refused that it is the end of diplomatic efforts...We can’t, we can’t just as you said stay here and look...And we are not. So the efforts are continuing", the UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told reporters, saying de Mistura continues to speak with key players.