Deploring the spread of hostilities throughout the Syrian city of Aleppo, senior United Nations officials today called on all parties to the conflict to end indiscriminate attacks on civilians and fully respect international humanitarian law.
“The United Nations is deeply alarmed by the escalating violence in and around Aleppo city putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of death and injury,” said a joint statement issued by Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, and Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis.
The UN further called on all parties to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance, as required under relevant Security Council resolutions, and enable the rapid, safe and unhindered evacuation of civilians who wish to leave.
Since 7 July, heavy clashes between the Government of Syria forces and non-state armed groups have rendered the Castello road, the last remaining access road in and out of eastern Aleppo city, impassable, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Government and Kurdish forces have since then reportedly gained control of the majority of Castello road, cutting off humanitarian, commercial and civilian movement in and out of eastern Aleppo city, and putting an estimated 200,000-300,000 people closer to the line of fire and at risk of besiegement.
Even before the recent escalation of violence, 10,000 to 30,000 people fled the area between January and June due to increased insecurity.
The statement went on to highlight the dangerous security situation, citing intensified airstrikes by Government forces in rural Aleppo, hundreds of mortars and projectiles targeting western Aleppo in the past week, and explosive anti-aircraft projectiles straying into several civilian neighbourhoods.
From 8 to 11 July, 57 people were reportedly killed including 15 children and 497 were injured, the statement said.
The UN and partners in east Aleppo have enough food supplies for 145,000 people for one month, but humanitarian needs must be immediately addressed, including through re-establishing medical evacuations from east Aleppo.
“While it is difficult to collect information on eastern Aleppo due to access restrictions, it is among the areas hardest hit by conflict with most people heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.