Tuesday 16 January 2018

Conditions in Aleppo barely survivable, says UN

Fighting has intensified in Aleppo
Fighting has intensified in Aleppo

Conditions in Syrian rebel-held eastern Aleppo have gone "from terrible to terrifying and now barely survivable", the UN's humanitarian chief said.

Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council that the last available UN food rations were distributed on November 13 and only "a handful of rations" from local non-governmental organisations remain in the besieged area.

He said food in markets is scarce, prices have skyrocketed and fuel and gas for cooking is reportedly unavailable in most neighbourhoods.

Discontent is growing, Mr O'Brien said, pointing to protests against corruption and a monopoly on goods last week, some of which turned violent, "indicating the extreme desperation of the trapped citizens".

Adding to the humanitarian crisis, the people of eastern Aleppo "will shortly face a harsh winter without heating or the bare essentials for life", he said.

Mr O'Brien also said that the number of Syrians living in besieged areas has more than doubled in the past year to nearly one million people.

He accused the government of isolating, starving, bombing and denying medical attention and humanitarian aid to people in opposition areas "in order to force them to submit or flee".

Mr O'Brien said the number of besieged people rose from 393,700 to 974,080 people.

Most of the besieged areas are surrounded by government troops.

Mr O'Brien said that "it is a deliberate tactic of cruelty to compound a people's suffering for political, military and in some cases economic gain, to destroy and defeat a civilian population who cannot fight back".

He strongly criticised president Bashar Assad's government for its failure to defend all Syrians - even those who oppose him - and for invoking national sovereignty "to bomb its own people".


Press Association

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