Casualties overwhelm hospitals in Syria's Aleppo
Hospitals in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are overwhelmed with casualties, an international aid group warned last night.
The announcement came as government warplanes blasted opposition areas of the city as part of a withering three-day air assault that has killed more than 100 people. The intensified air campaign, which one activist group in the city called "unprecedented", suggests President Bashar Assad's government is trying to crush opposition in the city, Syria's largest, ahead of an international peace conference scheduled for late January in Switzerland.
Aleppo has been a major front in Syria's civil war since the rebels launched an offensive there in mid-2012, and the city has since been carved into opposition and government-held areas.
On Tuesday, the main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Council, accused the international community of "failing to take any serious position that would guarantee a stop to the bloodbath" ahead of the peace talks.
The aid group Doctors Without Borders said in a statement yesterday that hospitals in Aleppo had been overwhelmed by the massive influx of wounded from the attacks, which have "emptied stocks of critical drugs and medical materials for lifesaving procedures."
Meanwhile a minister in Britain's Foreign Office accused the Syrian regime of effectively murdering Abbas Khan, a UK doctor held in its custody.
Khan, a 32-year-old orthopedic surgeon from London, was seized by government troops in Aleppo in November 2012.
Hugh Robertson, the head of the foreign office's Mideast remit said: "There is no excuse whatsoever for the treatment that he has suffered by the Syrian authorities who have in effect murdered a British national."