The Syrian city of Aleppo risks becoming a ‘giant graveyard’ unless urgent action is taken to assist its people. That was the message at a meeting of the UN’s security council.
On Wednesday a barrage of artillery on rebel-held eastern Aleppo killed at least 26 civilians and injured dozens of others, while another eight died in government controlled areas.
Meanwhile UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien who was on a video link to New York, didn’t mince his words:
“For the sake of humanity, we call on, we plead with the parties and those with influence to do everything in their power to protect civilians and enable access to the besieged parts of eastern Aleppo before it becomes one giant graveyard.”
O’Brien also said dozens of humanitarian staff were trapped in the besieged part of eastern Aleppo.
Security Council members had been meeting to try to agree a ceasefire for Aleppo. Russia which is backing the Syrian government with air strikes said ‘easing civilian suffering wont happen by ceasing the counter terrorist operation’.
Gains by the Syrian army and its allies since last week have brought whole districts of rebel-held territory back under government control and triggered a human exodus as thousands have fled the bombardments.
For the mostly Sunni Muslim rebel groups, the fall of Aleppo would deprive them of their last big foothold in a major city. A leadership council of the rebel groups in Aleppo called on all men able to bear arms to “defend the oppressed”.