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Aleppo: a Syrian tragedy

Aleppo: a Syrian tragedy
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The devastation in Aleppo's besieged rebel-held east has sparked global outrage, but world powers are failing to stop the bloodshed.


This is not some distant planet. This is the eastern part of Aleppo, home to 250,000 people.

Relentless Syrian and Russian bombings on the rebel-held area have ravaged entire neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals – wounding and killing scores of civilians, many of them children.

Pictures of the city’s devastation have flooded social media, and public outrage is growing.

An online petition signed by dozens of activists and university professors from around the world pleads to stop the massacre.

This Friday, German weekly Stern chose to “keep silent” on its website. Its editors said they felt the humanitarian crisis in Syria deserved more media coverage. As a mea culpa, and because pictures speak louder than words, the paper only posted heartbreaking photos from Aleppo.

Powerful gesture: isn’t publishing ANY news today, only photos of tragic situation in #Aleppo. Respect, sternde</a>. <a href="">#AleppoUnderSiege</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Rowan Barnett (rowbar) October 7, 2016

At the United Nations General Assembly last month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon sounded the alarm on the situation in Syria. He condemned an attack on a UN aid convoy he described as “sickening, savage and apparently deliberate.”

Ghost town

Two weeks ago, Syrian and Russian forces launched a major air campaign on eastern Aleppo. The area now looks like a ghost town.

“Nobody stays here,” said Abu Al Yaman, a local resident who supports the rebel Free Syrian Army. “Only two to three families are known to have remained in the area. Water has been cut for a year and a half, and there’s no power.”

This is heartbreaking

And maddening—that this is not headline news, especially given the election silliness that is

— Matthew Soerens (@MatthewSoerens) October 1, 2016

Back in Geneva, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warned on Thursday that eastern Aleppo could be wiped off the map if the bombings continued at this pace.

“The bottom line is in maximum two months, two and a half months, the city of eastern Aleppo, at this rate, may be totally destroyed. We are talking about the old city in particular. And thousands of civilians – not terrorists – will be killed,” he said.

US-Russian talks over a ceasefire have collapsed, and the world seems to look on helplessly as the tragedy unfolds.

#UPDATE Russia threatens to veto French UN resolution on Aleppo ceasefire

— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 7, 2016

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