A mil­lion be­sieged

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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

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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.

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