LONDON, Dec 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A plan to
evacuate civilians from eastern Aleppo stalled on Wednesday as
renewed air strikes and shelling rocked the city.
A ceasefire brokered on Tuesday by Russia and Turkey was
intended to end years of fighting in the city, giving Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad his biggest victory in more than five
years of war.
But air strikes, shelling and gunfire erupted on Wednesday
and Turkey accused government forces of breaking the truce.
Syrian state television said rebel shelling had killed six
Here are the views of some aid agencies and human rights
organisations on the humanitarian situation in eastern Aleppo
and their concerns for the conflict in Syria.
RICHARD HAMILTON, CARE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL SYRIA RESPONSE
"Civilians must be permitted a free choice as to whether or
not to flee fighting, and do not lose their civilian status
should they choose to stay in their homes and with their
CARE calls for a desperately needed cessation of hostilities
not only for Aleppo, but throughout Syria to both allow
humanitarian access and medical evacuation in out of areas,
including besieged areas which still contain many hundreds of
thousands of people.
We can't continue to let the Syrian population fear for
their future. Syrian humanitarians ask, 'Aleppo today ... which
Many are afraid of suffering the same fate as the
inhabitants of Aleppo who have been massacred by bombs or those
in Daraya who were forcibly evacuated from their city. All they
want is to live in peace at home."
EVITA MOUAWAD, HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS ADVISOR FOR THE MIDDLE
EAST, MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF):
"We are also extremely concerned that access to healthcare
in east Aleppo has become close to impossible. All the hospitals
... have been severely damaged by the bombings in the last
The medical staff we are in touch with tell us that they
have run out of medical supplies, ranging from very basic
supplies such as bandages, to more extensive surgical tools."
LAMA FAKIH, DEPUTY MIDDLE EAST DIRECTOR AT HUMAN RIGHTS
"It has been heart-wrenching to hear the desperate pleas for
protection from civilians stuck in the inferno that is Aleppo.
The Syrian authorities should ensure that civilians are allowed
to safely leave the city and to go where they want.
The risk of atrocities in Syria is not over with the
government takeover of Aleppo. Unless combatants and commanders
on all sides can see that there could be consequences for their
unlawful actions, we will see more crimes replay themselves in
ELIZABETH HOFF, WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION REPRESENTATIVE IN
"A large number of these people are injured, sick,
exhausted, traumatised and many are wounded. We know that health
services in parts of the city they come from were extremely
limited and often inaccessible. Given months of neglect, other
priorities are to vaccinate children and to treat people with
People on the move need to have access to health care. We
are helping doctors and health personnel to reach as many of
these people as possible as fast as possible. This includes the
deployment of mobile health clinics and provision of surgical
supplies, medicines for acute and chronic diseases."
LYNN MAALOUF, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR RESEARCH AT AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL'S BEIRUT REGIONAL OFFICE:
"Over the past year Syrian government forces with the
support of Russia have ruthlessly targeted civilians and
civilian property including hospitals as a strategy of war as a
way to empty the city of residents displaying an utterly callous
disregard of international law.
As well as ending attacks on civilians at this critical time
it is crucial that the Syrian government and its allies, namely
Russia and Iran allow U.N. monitors to be deployed to eastern
Aleppo to ensure civilians are protected from revenge attacks
and unfettered humanitarian access is granted so that
life-saving aid can reach all those in need."
PAUL DONOHOE, SENIOR MEDIA OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE
"Escaping Aleppo doesn't mean escaping the war. After
witnessing the ferocity of attacks on civilians in Aleppo, we
are understandably concerned that the sieges and barrel bombs
will follow the thousands who arrive in Idlib.
We already know Idlib isn't a safe area of Syria. The attack
on a school in Hass in October left 22 children and six teachers
dead, and two IRC supported hospitals were attacked in the
province in 2016. There is a real danger that such outrages will
not only continue but intensify. And unlike with Aleppo, this
time the world won't be watching."
GEERT CAPPELAERE, UNICEF REGIONAL DIRECTOR:
"Children in east Aleppo have been living for months with
the bare minimum to survive. Too many children have been
prevented from life saving vaccination. We are seeing more cases
of malnutrition. All children have witnessed violence; too many
have been confronted directly with the worst of mankind. Many
children have been separated from their families.
The only answer to all that innocent suffering is simple:
stop the war and put the rights and interest of children at the
heart of decision making."
(Reporting by Astrid Zweynert and Umberto Bacchi; Editing by
Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate
change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)