UN pleads with Damascus to allow aid into Aleppo

UN pleads with Damascus to allow aid into Aleppo
The UN say it's desperate to reach besieged civilians of East Aleppo after five days of relentless regime bombing, leaving hospitals out of action and more than 100 civilians dead
2 min read
20 November, 2016
Besieged civilians of East Aleppo have no food, fuel or healthcare [Getty]
The UN is pleading to be allowed into East Aleppo after a "catastrophic" week of relentless bombardment which, has seen its last hospital destroyed.

The UN said it has a humanitarian plan in place to provide urgently-needed supplies and evacuate the ill and wounded from the besieged city - but it can only enter with the regime's blessing.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have continued to bombard neighbourhoods with barrel bombs and air strikes, determined to expel rebel fighters, while 250,000 besieged civilians go without food, fuel or medical aid.

Two top UN officials said they were "extremely saddened and appalled" with the situation caused by regime and Russian bombing of the district, home to around 250,000 people.

"It is imperative all parties agree to the plan and allow us to secure immediate, safe and unimpeded access to provide relief to those most in need in East Aleppo, but equally in all other parts of Syria where there are people in need," said Ali al-Zaatari, the Syria Humanitarian Coordinator.

Since it began on Tuesday, the joint regime-Russian assault has put schools and all hospitals out of action and killed almost 100 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United States has also decried the "heinous" attacks which have forced civilians to cower in bomb shelters and basements.

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Saturday Washington condemned "in the strongest terms these horrific attacks against medical infrastructure and humanitarian aid workers".

"The Syrian regime and its allies, Russia in particular, bears responsibly for the immediate and long-term consequences these actions have caused in Syria and beyond."

The US branch of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations has described the string of hospital bombings as the regime's "systematic and deliberate eradication of health care facilities in Aleppo and Syria".

"No one can go in to help civilians, no supplies or medical aid are able to reach these areas, patients cannot be transported out no matter how serious their condition," CEO Dr Khaula Sawah said in an emotional statement.

"People are trapped under the rubble, there are insufficient rescue teams to help save these lives.

"The hundreds of wounded daily have nowhere to turn, the whole world has turned a blind eye to the 250,000 people trapped, literally choking the life out of them until they die."