UNICEF says the children of Aleppo are “trapped in a living nightmare.”
The UN children’s agency says at least 96 children have been killed and 223 have been injured in Eastern Aleppo since Friday.
“The children of Aleppo are trapped in a living nightmare,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth. “There are no words left to describe the suffering they are experiencing.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitors the conflict and reports nine children were killed Tuesday during airstrikes on the rebel-held al-Shaar and al-Mashad neighbourhoods.
Two hospitals were severely damaged by airstrikes early Wednesday, knocking out generators and cutting off water supplies, putting them temporarily out of service.
The airstrikes leave eastern Aleppo with six functioning hospitals, only three of which are capable of dealing with emergencies.
The health system in the region is crumbling, UNICEF said the city has only about 30 doctors left to care for the estimated 250,000 civilians caught in its rebel-held areas.
“Children with low chances of survival are too often left to die” because of limited resources, the group said.
A doctor on the ground told UNICEF that children with low chances of survival are too often left to die due to limited capacity and supplies.
“Nothing can justify such assaults on children and such total disregard for human life. The suffering and the shock among children is definitely the worst we have seen,” said Forsyth.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the situation in Aleppo “worse than a slaughterhouse” Wednesday when speaking at a UN Security Council meeting mere hours after the hospitals were bombed.
A slaughterhouse is “more humane” than the current situation in Aleppo, he added.
“Hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff in Aleppo are under attack around the clock,” Ban said. “According to Physicians for Human rights, 95% of medical personnel who were in Aleppo before the war have fled, been detained or killed. This is a war against Syrian health workers.”
The head of Doctors Without Borders said people in Aleppo are being taken off life support in order to treat a “multitude” of wounded and “they await their own deaths.”
Joanna Liu says “the unrelenting assault on Aleppo by Russian and Syrian forces over recent days with no evacuations possible and bodies unburied” demonstrates that the conduct of war today is becoming “a race to the bottom.”
France says it is working on a new U.N. resolution that would impose a cease-fire in Aleppo.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre says this means grounding Syrian planes, re-establishing a U.S. and Russian-brokered truce starting in Aleppo, delivering humanitarian aid and establishing a system to monitor implementation of the agreement.
(pic courtesy UOSSM-Canada via Twitter)