1. UNICEF calls for end to ‘dire’ situation in Aleppo

UNICEF calls for end to ‘dire’ situation in Aleppo

UNICEF's representative in Syria called for an end to the violence that has beset northern Aleppo, causing "dire" humanitarian and psychological impacts on both sides of the divided city.

By: | Beirut | Published: October 9, 2016 8:15 AM
Most are crammed in makeshift shelters, mosques, parks and churches after recently fleeing clashes on the frontline between rebels and pro-government forces.(Syrian Central Military Media via AP) Most are crammed in makeshift shelters, mosques, parks and churches after recently fleeing clashes on the frontline between rebels and pro-government forces.(Syrian Central Military Media via AP)

UNICEF’s representative in Syria called for an end to the violence that has beset northern Aleppo, causing “dire” humanitarian and psychological impacts on both sides of the divided city.

UN agencies are on “standby” to deliver needed assistance, Hanaa Singer of the UN’s children agency told The Associated Press.

With the key powers deeply divided, the UN Security Council on yesterday once again failed to agree on the course of action in war-ravaged Aleppo, and Syria in general.

Russia vetoed a resolution drafted by France demanding an immediate halt to the bombing of Aleppo. A resolution put forward by Russia that called for a separation of moderate and extremist forces in Syria but making no mention of a bombing halt in Aleppo failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required for passage.

Also on yesterday, Syrian state media and a Syria monitoring group said pro-government troops advanced in a northern district of eastern Aleppo, wrestling control from rebel fighters in their latest push into the besieged area. Singer said conditions in besieged Aleppo are “terribly dire,” with hospitals hit, doctors overwhelmed, and over 100 children killed in bombings since Sept 19.

Conditions for thousands of displaced in the government-held part of the city are also deteriorating, with some of them being displaced for up to six times in the last three years, she said.

Singer returned earlier this week from a week-long trip to the government-held part of Aleppo where she was visiting thousands of displaced Syrians.

Most are crammed in makeshift shelters, mosques, parks and churches after recently fleeing clashes on the frontline between rebels and pro-government forces.

In one case, a mother so desperate from the continuous displacement, stabbed her baby girl thinking she will save her the misery of living on handouts and without a home, Singer said.

Describing the dramatic situation for thousands of families living in shelters in government-controlled Aleppo, Singer said: “These (are) the horrors in western Aleppo. God knows what is happening, (in the case of) mental health or the psychological situation on the eastern (rebel-held) side.”

Western Aleppo, controlled by the government, is separated from eastern rebel-held Aleppo by a few meters, sometimes by a single plastic sheet or pockmarked building. An estimated 275,000 people are living in the rebel-held part of Aleppo, with no international aid reaching the area since the first week of July.

Besides the scarce assistance, it is also difficult to assess the needs with the ever-evolving violent situation, and lack of access for international aid groups, she said.

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