Regime hits historic Aleppo citadel, blocks aid to Daraya

Regime hits historic Aleppo citadel, blocks aid to Daraya
Damage was reported to Aleppo's Saint Simon citadel following suspected new regime airstrikes despite the extension of a ceasefire in the city
2 min read
14 May, 2016
The ancient castle was damaged in previous 2012 attacks [Getty]

Dozens of fresh airstrikes bombarded Syria's Aleppo in the past two days, damaging an ancient citadel, despite the extension of a ceasefire.

"Russian and Syrian warplanes targeted Dara Aza with dozens of airstrikes in the past two days," activist Mohammed al-Halabi told The New Arab. "Four of the raids hit Aleppo's (Saint Simon) citadel, resulting in significant damage to the historic castle, walls and columns."

Activists rushed to the scene to inspect and document the damage made to the artefacts which had been the target of previous bombings in May and June 2012, al-Halabi said.

Meanwhile, an aid convoy carrying basic supplies including medicine and baby food was prevented from reaching Daraya - an area in the suburbs of the capital that has been under siege for more than three years.

Syrian rebels described the prevention of the delivery as proof of the Syrian regime's lack of seriousness amid ongoing peace talks.

"The prevention of the humanitarian aid convoy by Assad forces, as well as their continous targeting of civilians is a deliberate war crime," said Muwafaq Nerbiyah, vice president of the Syrian opposition coalition.

The delivery would have been the first since the siege began more than three years ago but was eventually cancelled after Syrian government forces held it up for some seven hours outside Daraya. 

"The Syrian government’s refusal to allow sorely needed humanitarian aid convoy into the town is a cruel reality check of the suffering of thousands of civilians besieged there since 2012," Amnesty International said.

A February report by the Netherlands-based aid group PAX and the Washington-based Syria Institute found that 1.09 million people are living in 46 besieged communities in Syria, far more than the 18 listed by the UN.

It said most are under siege by the Syrian government in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital, and Homs.