Friday, September 30, 2016

UN aid chief: Aleppo facing a 'humanitarian catastrophe'

The United Nations aid chief warned Thursday that Aleppo faces a humanitarian catastrophe "unlike any" witnessed so far in Syria's brutal five-year war.

"Let me be clear: east Aleppo this minute is not at the edge of the precipice," Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council, according to the AFP news agency.

"It is well into its terrible descent into the pitiless and merciless abyss of a humanitarian catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed in Syria," warned the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

The council was meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria as France said it would push for a UN resolution imposing a ceasefire in Aleppo, which has been under fierce bombardment by Syrian and Russian warplanes for a week.

A truce deal negotiated between Moscow and Washington brought a few days of respite in Aleppo earlier this month, before its total collapse last week.

Several days after the collapse of the ceasefire, the Syrian army announced the launch of a new offensive to retake the rebel-held east of Aleppo, warning residents to keep away from posts held by anti-regime fighters.

During Thursday’s meeting, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power described the escalation as "the most savage week we've seen in an incredibly savage five-plus-year war," with more than 1,000 people killed by 1,700 air strikes on east Aleppo alone. READ MORE