What is happening in Aleppo is worse than “a slaughterhouse”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.
Two major hospitals in besieged eastern Aleppo were hit by Russian and Assad regime air strikes on Wednesday. Seven people were killed and at least one of the hospitals was put out of service following the bombings. Airstrikes also hit a bread distribution center on Wednesday, killing six people.
Speaking to the UN Security Council just hours after the hospitals had been bombed, Ki-moon implicitly accused the Assad regime and Russia of committing war crimes. “Let us be clear: Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing. They know they are committing war crimes,” he said.
Backed by Russian aerial cover and Iranian-led militias, the Assad regime has launched a brutal assault on Aleppo in a renewed attempt to take back rebel-held neighborhoods. Hundreds of civilians have so far been killed as a result of the ongoing onslaught on the city.
“Imagine the destruction,” Ki-moon continued. “People with their limbs blown off, children in terrible pain with no relief, infected, suffering, dying. With nowhere to go and no end in sight. Imagine a slaughterhouse. This is worse. Even a slaughterhouse is more humane.”
The UN chief urged the Security Council to take “decisive steps” to protect health facilities and medical staff.
Aleppo now faces the most sustained and intense bombardment by regime and Assad air forces in the more than five years of conflict with hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff under attack around the clock.
Ki-moon stressed that Member States and parties to the conflict should ensure that those responsible for violations are prosecuted and punished, and provide reparations and support to those affected by such attacks.
Meanwhile, UNICEF said at least 96 children have been killed and 223 have been injured in Eastern Aleppo since Friday.
The health service in Eastern Aleppo is crumbling with only about 30 doctors left, hardly any equipment or emergency medicine to treat the injured, and an ever increasing number of trauma cases, a UNICEF statement said.
Among the roughly 250,000 people trapped in the rebel-held eastern parts of Aleppo, are 100,000 children, the most vulnerable victims of intensified bombings by the Assad regime forces and their Russian allies, the New York Times said on Tuesday.
The photographs of Alan Kurdi’s drowned body and Omran Daqneesh’s bloodied face are prime examples; dead and traumatized children are increasingly common, the newspaper added.
Civil defense teams in Aleppo said that they have counted over in 1,700 air strikes by the Russian and the Assad regime air forces since the Assad regime announced the US-Russian brokered truce was over in September 19.
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition Muwaffaq Nyrabiya on Wednesday said that the armed Syrian opposition would be considering all options to defend the Syrian people against the Russian aggression on Syria. He noted that a political solution is no longer a viable option in the current climate.
Nyrabiya pointed out that the armed and political oppositions are working on closing ranks and arranging their priorities in light of the fierce military campaign waged by the regime and its allies and their violations of international resolutions. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)