Over 100 children killed in Aleppo in three weeks

Over 100 children killed in Aleppo in three weeks
According to Doctors Without Borders, an average of 17 children are injured everyday in the war-torn city, with access to healthcare also increasingly fraught.
3 min read
14 October, 2016
Vital aid is unable to reach besieged east Aleppo [AFP]
Since a US-Russian brokered ceasefire ended in Syria on September 19, 114 children have died and a further 321 have been injured in Syrian and Russian airstrikes, the vast majority in rebel-held east Aleppo.

According to the statistics, released by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), in the last three weeks an average of 17 children have been injured every day.

Since the start of Syria’s civil war up to April this year MSF says that 5,200 deaths have been registered with the Directorate of Health in Aleppo.

The international humanitarian group supports eight hospitals in rebel-held east Aleppo. But it says that a regime-enforced siege is preventing vital aid from reaching residents in the area and has badly affected both access to healthcare and the quality of healthcare services, ranging from life-saving, emergency operations, to the availability of essential vaccines. Meanwhile, water-born conditions such diarrhoea is also on the rise.

“The international community has become immune to images of dead children being recovered from the rubble of buildings ravaged by bombs,” said Carlos Francisco, MSF Head of Mission for Syria, on Friday.

“All sorts of civilian spaces are being hit; schools are being damaged. The reality is that children die every day in what appears to be a ‘kill box’.”

The international community has become immune to images of dead children being recovered from the rubble of buildings ravaged by bombs

Dr Hassan Nerahabi, an employee of the Aleppo Directorate of Health, noted that faced with a siege and almost constant aerial bombardment essential paediatric healthcare programmes had come to an almost complete standstill in east Aleppo.

“Previously there were door-to-door polio vaccination campaigns and expanded programmes on immunisation in east Aleppo, but these are no longer possible as vaccines and logistic supplies cat reach the area,” said Dr Nerabani on Friday.

“The number of medical teams working in east Aleppo is also insufficient. They are overwhelmed by the huge number of war-wounded and their priority is to save lives. Many paediatric health programmes are on-hold.”

Airstrikes on east Aleppo in the last three weeks have notably targeted hospitals leading to accusations from a plethora of aid organisations and political figures, including EU ministers, that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is guilty of war crimes.

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On Saturday US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set to meet in Switzerland in attempts to revive flagging negotiations over a political settlement in Syria. The UN has warned that if bombing campaigns over east Aleppo continue at their current rate, the ancient city could face destruction by the end of the year.

In an interview with Russian TV aired on Thursday Assad said that Aleppo required “cleaning” in order to “push the terrorists to Turkey to go back to where they come from, or to kill them" claiming that victory in the city would act as a “springboard” enabling the regime to retake all of Syria.