Med­i­cal group pleads for ac­cess to wounded in Syr­ian city

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Philip Issa

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.


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