UN: 16,000 displaced in Syria’s Aleppo as regime pounds rebel-held areas

Nov 30, 2016 11:38 AM EST
Syrian residents fleeing various eastern districts of Aleppo
Syrian families, fleeing from various eastern districts of Aleppo, queue to get onto governmental buses on November 29, 2016 in the government-held eastern neighbourhood of Jabal Badro, before heading to government-controlled western Aleppo, as the Syrian government offensive to recapture rebel-held Aleppo has prompted an exodus of civilians. The Syrian government offensive to recapture rebel-held Aleppo sparked international alarm, with the UN saying nearly 16,000 people had fled the assault and more could follow. The fighting has prompted an exodus of terrified civilians, many fleeing empty-handed into remaining rebel-held territory, or crossing into government-controlled western Aleppo or Kurdish districts.

Up to 16,000 people were displaced in Syria's Aleppo by intense attacks on the rebel-held eastern part of the city, UN humanitarian chief and relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien said on Tuesday.

The area had no functioning hospitals, food stocks were nearly exhausted and it was likely that thousands of more people would flee from their homes if the fighting keeps on going in the coming days.

"The situation is very bad. There's intense fear of collective annihilation," said Abu al-Abbas, a medic who lives in the area.

"This week I've changed locations three times," he added, speaking on Monday using a social networking site.

"In the shelter, we had dead people that we couldn't take out because the bombardment was so intense." 

Aleppo hosted the most pressing battle in Syria's war, pitting President Bashar Al-Assad. The Syrian government was backed by countries such as Russia, Iran, etc against mostly Sunni groups including some supported by the US, and Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered mobile field hospitals be sent to Aleppo to provide medical assistance to residents. In addition, Russia has been the Syrian regime's closest and most powerful ally. Its support has been widely blamed by the destruction of hospitals and schools across the country.

The fighting escalated after the army began a new offensive last week, bringing more eastern Aleppo districts close to the front line as rescue and ambulance workers said their vehicles and equipment are running out of fuel. 

According to Syrian national newspaper SANA, eight people were killed on Wednesday and seven others were injured in rocket shells fired by the terrorist organizations on a number of residential neighborhoods in Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said warplanes pounded eastern Aleppo districts overnight, killing at least 18 people, including 12 in al-Shaar district near the new front line.



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