iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A new video shows parts of Aleppo in ruins, as humanitarian organizations call for an end to the Syrian government’s recent offensive on the eastern part of the city.
In the video, released by the Syrian military, Syrian soldiers are walking around damaged areas and aiming with guns. Buildings in the neighborhood have been reduced to rubble.
Meanwhile, the besieged part of eastern Aleppo is still waiting for humanitarian assistance amid an upsurge of violence. For weeks, the United Nations has had aid loaded on vehicles parked by the Turkish border waiting for a green light to enter the besieged city, where up to 275,000 people are in need of food, water, shelter and medical supplies, according to the U.N.
Initially, 40 aid trucks were ready to enter — but due to increased violence and an attack on an aid convoy, the aid was suspended. Only 20 of the 40 trucks now remain at the border, according to the U.N. The other 20 had to move to make room for other traffic. The aid will instead be distributed in other places inside Syria.
“Obviously, the humanitarian situation inside east Aleppo is going from bad to worse,” David Swanson, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told ABC News. “The situation even before this recent upsurge in violence was dire with many people lacking access to food, health, shelter and water. Between 250,000 and 275,000 people are now living without proper access to running drinking water. Right now, 20 trucks are standby and ready to enter as soon as the latest round of violence improves.”
Airstrikes intensified after the Syrian military declared an offensive against eastern Aleppo on Sept. 22 — a few days after announcing that a U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire had ended.
On Tuesday, a girl was rescued from under the rubble of a destroyed building in east Aleppo’s al-Shaar neighborhood. It took four hours to get her out of the building and she was the only survivor, according to the White Helmets, a group of unarmed, nonpartisan rescue workers in Syria. At least 24 people were killed and 15 wounded, said the White Helmets. Activists said the girl lost 16 members of her family in the attack.
Thursday morning, warplanes dropped bombs on the only bakery in the town of Anadan in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The bakery is now out of service, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most of the residents have already left the town due to persistent government airstrikes, the observatory said.
On Wednesday, two major hospitals in east Aleppo were attacked and are now out of service, including the besieged area’s largest trauma and ICU center.
“Let us be clear. Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing. They know they are committing war crimes,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a speech Wednesday. “Imagine the destruction. People with 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. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances and medical staff in Aleppo are under attack around the clock.”
According to Physicians for Human Rights, 95 percent of medical personnel who were in Aleppo before the war have fled, been detained, or were killed. Only some 30 doctors are believed to be left in the rebel-held part of Aleppo.
“Attacking hospitals, aid convoys, and rescue workers is beyond horrific,” said Zaher Sahloul, a doctor and founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of humanitarian organizations that provide assistance in Syria. “Every day brings new levels of horror for the people of Aleppo. By standing by and letting these attacks continue, it tells us the world has lost its moral compass.”
Activists say that government and Russian forces have used bunker-buster bombs to target people sheltering underground and cluster bombs to maximize the number of injured and killed in Aleppo.
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