News Middle East

Thursday 18 January 2018

Assad won't let us deliver aid to 905,000 in Aleppo, says UN

Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad

Elle Amie

Syria's government is refusing UN appeals to deliver aid to 905,000 people including in Aleppo, the city at the centre of an eruption of violence in the past two weeks, UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said yesterday.

"We seem to be having new possible besieged areas on our watch, we are having hundreds of relief workers unable to move in Aleppo," he told reporters after a weekly humanitarian meeting of nations backing the Syria peace process.

"It is a disgrace to see while the population of Aleppo is bleeding their options to flee have never been more difficult than now."

The violence in the city - Syria's largest and once its key commercial centre - has been going on for the past 13 days, despite intense diplomatic efforts to restore a limited ceasefire that began in late February.

Nearly 300 people have been killed during this latest spate of violence in Aleppo, which has put the city at the centre of the Syrian conflict and shattered the partial ceasefire.

Over the last two weeks, hospitals and civilian areas in the divided city have come under attack from government warplanes, as well as from shelling by rebel forces.

And three more people have been killed in the renewed shelling by Syrian rebels of areas in Aleppo held by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

State TV said government troops repelled an overnight rebel attack on an Aleppo suburb controlled by the government.

Pro-opposition activists confirmed that report, adding that government forces regained control of a former shopping centre that had become a new front line with rebel fighters in the western part of the city.

The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdurrahman described those clashes as some of the worst between the government and rebel fighters over the last year in Aleppo.

Areas under the control of Isil and its main rival, the Syrian al-Qa'ida affiliate known as the Nusra Front, have not been included in the ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Isil said it has advanced in the strategic Shaer gas fields in Syria's central Homs province.

Irish Independent

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