A million besieged
The UN humanitarian chief says conditions in Syrian rebel-held eastern Aleppo have gone “from terrible to terrifying and now barely survivable.” Stephen O’Brien told the UN Security Council on Monday that the last available UN food rations were distributed on November 13 and only “a handful of rations” from local non-governmental organizations remain in the besieged area.
He says food in markets is scarce, prices have skyrocketed and fuel and gas for cooking is reportedly unavailable in most neighbourhoods.
Discontent is growing, O’Brien said, pointing to protests against corruption and a monopoly on goods last week, some 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.” The UN humanitarian chief says the number of Syrians living in besieged areas has more than doubled in the past year to nearly 1 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.” He says the number of besieged people rose from 393,700 to 974,080 people. Most of the besieged areas are surrounded by government troops.
O’Brien told the UN Security Council on Monday 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 which cannot fight back.”
He strongly criticized 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.”
It is time for the Maltese population to wake up to the immense tragedy that is taking place to the east of Malta.
The situation in Aleppo has deteriorated to the point where there is no solution possible. It is hell on earth and the civilian population has been caught in the middle. There have been some sporadic attempts at trying to get the civilian population out but they have faltered because of Syrian (and also Russian) suspicion that Isis people may try to escape this way.
The number of fighters that Assad’s forces and the Russians want to capture number around 800 but they are holding the one million residents as their shield and salvation.
The trapped citizens, as stated earlier, lack everything – food supplies have disappeared, and Assad’s forces and the Russians have taken to bomb hospitals, even though they are clearly marked as such.
This is a fight to the finish and the finish will be ghastly.
The free world timidly tried to intervene, mainly the US, but it was quickly rendered impotent after some mistakes on its part. Now with a new President and with relations with Russia being a crucial aspect of the coming change, there is even less that the US can do. Europe never counted for much and it is now obsessed with the problem of refugees from Syria to the exclusion of doing something in Syria. Not that the EU ever got anything straight in this regard. The world has given up on Aleppo. We all know what is going on but there is complete inaction on the part of all who look on without intervening. Nor is there any cry of protest at the sheer inhumanity of it all. Aleppo is becoming the Sarajevo of our times, the Stalingrad of our time, the shame of humanity.