Medical group pleads for access to wounded in Syrian city
BEIRUT — Doctors Without Borders pleaded on Monday for access to treat the wounded in the rebel-held part of Syria’s Aleppo as government forces pressed ahead with an offensive that has killed hundreds of people in recent weeks.
The international charity, also known by its French acronym MSF, said in a statement that medical workers in Aleppo are ex- hausted and that the overstretched facilities face an impending fuel shortage. MSF, which supports eight hospitals in Aleppo’s besieged eastern quarters, says just 35 doctors remain in the area, serving a population of 275,000.
Eastern Aleppo’s Health Directorate said the wounded were sleeping outside overcrowded hospitals, waiting for care.
The United Nations has warned that the Aleppo bombardment by Syrian and Russian warplanes could leave thousands more dead by year’s end.
“Russia and Syria must stop the indiscriminate bombing now and abide by the rules of war to avoid the extreme suffering of the unprotected civilian population,” said Pablo Marco, MSF’s operations manager for the Middle East.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict through local contacts, has reported heavy fighting along the east-west Aleppo front lines.
In another besieged area near Damascus, doctors reported up to two dozen cases of kidney failure that they said resulted from malnutrition.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to Turkey on Monday that Moscow and Ankara want to facilitate the delivery of aid to Aleppo but that Syrian rebels would have to withdraw from a main supply route to ensure the safety of deliveries. He blamed the U.S. for failing to get them to do so. Doctors Without Borders supports eight hospitals in eastern Aleppo, Syria, and says 35 doctors remain in the area.