UN warns 2 million in Aleppo, Syria at risk in fight for city

by WorldTribune Staff, August 9, 2016

The United Nations has called for a “humanitarian pause” to fighting in Aleppo, Syria as some 2 million residents of the city are in danger of “coming under total siege.”

Heavy fighting between an alliance of anti-Assad rebels and jihadists and Syrian regime forces backed by Russian airstrikes has led to the seizing of rival access routes which have left Aleppo’s residents cut off from humanitarian assistance, the UN said in a statement on Aug. 8.

Syrian army soldiers patrol the area around the entrance of Bani Zeid after taking control of the previously rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, on July 28. /AFP/Getty Images
Syrian soldiers patrol the northwest outskirts of Aleppo on July 28. /AFP/Getty Images

At least 130 civilians have been killed since in the end of July in fighting in Aleppo and up to 275,000 people are trapped in the city’s eastern sector, the statement said. Bombing has damaged hospitals, clinics, and the city’s power and water networks.

“The UN stands ready to assist the civilian population of Aleppo, a city now united in its suffering,” the statement said. “At a minimum, the UN requires a full-fledged ceasefire or weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses to reach the millions of people in need throughout Aleppo and replenish the food and medicine stocks, which are running dangerously low.”

Syrian government forces closed in on Castello Road, the last route into rebel-held parts of the city, in June. The road was severed in mid-July, sparking food shortages and skyrocketing prices in the eastern districts.

In a major counter-attack last week, a coalition of rebels and jihadists cut off the Assad regime’s own main access road on the southern edges of the city.