Bod­ies lit­ter floor at hospi­tal in Aleppo

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Feature/worldwide -

HOS­PI­TALS are strug­gling to cope in Syria’s Aleppo as gov­ern­ment and Rus­sian fighter jets con­tin­ued to pound the city’s rebel-held east, killing more than 200 peo­ple in un­der a week.

Al Jazeera’s Amr al-Hal­abi, re­port­ing from a makeshift hospi­tal in the city, de­scribed a bleak sit­u­a­tion as the hospi­tal over­flowed with dozens of dead and wounded peo­ple.

“Dead peo­ple are on the floor of this makeshift hospi­tal,” Hal­abi said. “The sit­u­a­tion here is des­per­ate.” Bod­ies lit­tered the ground in­side and out­side the fa­cil­ity “There is not enough space for us. We have to leave im­me­di­ately to make more room for those in­jured,” Hal­abi said as a stream of am­bu­lances fer­ried in the dead and wounded, over­crowd­ing hospi­tal wards. “It looks like judge­ment day,” he said. At an emer­gency meet­ing of the UN on Sun­day, the US, Bri­tain and France ac­cused Rus­sia, a key mil­i­tary backer of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad, of war crimes. “What Rus­sia is spon­sor­ing and do­ing is not counter-ter­ror­ism. It is bar­barism,” US Am­bas­sador Samantha Power said. “It is dif­fi­cult to deny that Rus­sia is part­ner­ing with the Syr­ian regime to carry out war crimes,” said Bri­tish Am­bas­sador Matthew Ry­croft, adding that the high-tech weaponry had in­flicted “a new hell” on war­weary Syr­i­ans.

Since a cease­fire deal broke down last week, the Syr­ian ABUJA gov­ern­ment and Rus­sia have in­ten­si­fied a bar­rage of air raids aimed at tak­ing the east of the city from rebels.

Rus­sia’s Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin con­ceded that the surge in vi­o­lence over the past days meant that “bring­ing a peace is al­most an im­pos­si­ble task now”.

But Churkin laid the blame for the cease­fire lapse with the US, ac­cus­ing Wash­ing­ton of be­ing un­able to con­vince the rebel groups it backs to dis­tance them­selves from the Jab­hat Fateh al-Sham group - for­merly known as the Nusra Front and not in­cluded in the truce deal — and abide by the cease­fire.

Once Syria’s com­mer­cial cen­tre, Aleppo has been rav­aged by the fight­ing and roughly di­vided since mid-2012 be­tween gov­ern­ment con­trol in the west and rebel con­trol in the east.

Its east has been un­der near-con­tin­u­ous siege since mid-July, caus­ing food and fuel short­ages. At­tacks on wa­ter in­stal­la­tions from both sides have left more than two mil­lion civil­ians with­out wa­ter.

“None of the bak­eries are open any more be­cause of the bomb­ing and the short­ages of fuel and flour, so peo­ple have started mak­ing their own bread,” 30-yearold Imad Habush from Bab al-Nayrab neigh­bour­hood told the AFP news agency. “I don’t know why the regime is bomb­ing us in this bar­baric way. We’re civil­ians here. We’re not car­ry­ing weapons, and we’re be­sieged. We have no way to es­cape.” — AFP

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