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Civilians 'shot in homes' by Syrian forces in Aleppo - UN

Civilians 'shot in homes' by Syrian forces in Aleppo - UN
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By Alasdair Sandford with Reuters
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There are new reports from Syria of atrocities in Aleppo.

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There are new reports from Syria of atrocities in Aleppo.

As many people try to flee the city, the UN cites “multiple sources” as saying dozens of civilians have been killed as the Syrian army and its allies seal their control of the city.

The United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said it looked like “a complete meltdown of humanity”.

Pro-government forces are said to have entered homes and killed people on the spot – including women and children.

The reports speak of 82 civilians having died in four different neighbourhoods. The UN human rights office said it had reports that they were summarily executed by pro-government forces including allied Iraqi militiamen.

The UN said in its statement that the situation was extremely fluid and it was very challenging to verify reports. “However, they have been corroborated by multiple reliable sources,” it added.

Briefing on #Syria: Deeply disturbing reports that numerous bodies were lying in the streets https://t.co/Iqorjl7Pas#Aleppopic.twitter.com/7LrdIkmfuM

— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) December 13, 2016

Turkey has said it will intensify its contacts with Russia and other countries to install a ceasefire in Aleppo and find a solution to what it calls a “humanitarian tragedy”.

The UN says it’s filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in the “hellish corner” of the city’s besieged areas.

The UN’s children’s agency UNICEF warned that dozens of children – perhaps more than 100 – were trapped in a building under fire in eastern Aleppo.

Unaccompanied #children trapped in building #Aleppo#Syria evacuate them now pleads gcappelaere</a> <a href="https://t.co/eOw0laReqg">https://t.co/eOw0laReqg</a></p>&mdash; UNICEF MENA (UNICEFmena) December 13, 2016

Earlier, Syrian government troops said they had retaken almost all of rebel-held territory in eastern Aleppo.

The AFP news agency quoted a Syrian military official in Aleppo on Monday as saying that his side was experiencing the final moments before victory. Pro-government television has shown pictures of people celebrating in the streets of western Aleppo.

Moscow, the Syrian government’s most influential ally, has again rejected any immediate call for a ceasefire. Speaking during a visit to Belgrade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said corridors had first to be opened to allow armed groups to pull out.

The Russian Defence Ministry reported that at least 8,000 civilians, more than half of them children, had left eastern Aleppo in 24 hours – publishing a video on its website.

Both sides in the conflict have been accused of atrocities in recent days. Last week the UN’s human rights office said hundreds of men had gone missing, and armed opposition groups were shooting at fleeing civilians.

Rupert Colville added that there were reports two rebel militias – the Nusra Front, and the Abu Amara Battalion – had abducted and killed an unknown number of civilians who had asked them to leave.

Messages from Aleppo residents: 'Where is humanity?', 'Where is the world?', 'Why is nobody helping us?' https://t.co/a8ayOdqA8Qpic.twitter.com/XmOZOeHu92

— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) December 13, 2016

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