The United Nations humanitarian wing today spoke out against the latest escalation of violence in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where dozens of casualties have been reported in attacks on two medical facilities.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that since April, attacks in Aleppo and the surrounding areas have resulted in hundreds of people injured or killed, many of them children.
“It has also caused damage to schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, and hindered humanitarian aid operations,” the UN Spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, told journalists in New York. He added that such attacks “can constitute violations of international humanitarian law.”
“We call on all parties to the conflict to take all measures to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access, as required under international humanitarian law, in order to safeguard the lives of all civilians,” the Spokesman said.
The United Nations relief agency charged with the well-being of Palestine refugees across the Middle East today also deplored the violence in the Aleppo area, extending its condolences to the bereaved families.
According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 14 year-old Baraa Mahmoud Hosin Jomaa was killed in Al Hamadaniyeh, Aleppo, on Saturday when an exploding rocket struck his home.
On Sunday, 41-year-old Khairieh Zohir Siam was struck by a bullet from a sniper rifle while she was travelling in a commercial mini-bus in the Al Ramoseh area in Aleppo city. She was killed instantly, while another Palestine refugee, a fellow passenger, was injured in the hand and neck, according to the UN agency.
In Khan Eshieh camp, located in southern rural Damascus, intense fighting involving the use of heavy weapons and airborne munitions continues to endanger the lives of Palestine refugees and to damage and destroy civilian homes.
UNRWA reported that the home of a Palestine refugee was hit and severely damaged on Saturday by an explosive munition. This follows the death of a six year-old Palestine refugee child from an artillery explosion on 27 May, and the death of five Palestine refugees in two separate artillery strikes inside Khan Eshieh camp on 17 May.
“UNRWA remains gravely concerned about the risk of death and serious injury to Palestine refugees and other civilians throughout Syria,” according to a statement by the UN agency.
“The Agency reiterates its demands to all parties to desist from exposing civilians to these risks. To save civilian lives, it is imperative that all sides respect and comply with their international humanitarian law obligations,” UNRWA added.
Also today, the United Nations announced that it has received access to 15 of the 17 besieged areas under the UN Inter-Agency Convoy Plan agreed to earlier this month. The approvals include the areas of Daraya, Douma and Moadamiyah.