By Harun Yahya
Intensifying air and howitzer bombardments following the disintegration of the fleeting cease-fire after the last Eid al-Adha have turned Aleppo into a ghost town. Hundreds of civilians either lose their lives or are injured every day as a result of these heavy attacks on the devastated city. In the two weeks since Nov. 15, 739 civilians have lost their lives in Aleppo, with the number of injured reaching 2,500. U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that if this brutality was not put to an end, “by Christmas, there will be no east Aleppo anymore.”
Countless civilian targets, including hospitals and schools, have been bombed in the city during a conflict which has been marked by war crimes and crimes against humanity. The civilians who managed to escape from the airstrikes became the targets of “doshkas”— the nickname for DShK 1938 heavy infantry machine gun — in the city’s alleyways. Local media activist Abu Ammar said east Aleppo was filled with an overwhelming smell of blood due to the number of dead bodies and wounded piled up on the streets.
France’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Francois Delattre, described the current situation in Aleppo as “one of the biggest massacres of (a) civilian population since World War II.”
As for east Aleppo’s survivors, they continue to live in terrible conditions. Nearly 300,000 civilians are trapped in an area of 30 square kilometers, becoming the targets of falling bombs. Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General, reports that humanitarian aid sent to the area had been exhausted on Nov. 13, and that the region has virtually become “a city without food.” The hospitals in the area have become increasingly dysfunctional.
As the U.N. Security Council assembled to discuss the tragedy unfolding in the city, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien warned that if access to the under-siege city could not be enabled and civilians could not be rescued, eastern Aleppo would become “one giant graveyard.” The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that 20,000 people had recently left eastern Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said detention centers have been established in Aleppo, and more than 300 civilians were missing.
Winter is Coming With winter conditions becoming even more severe, what the people of east Aleppo need most is food and shelter. If the necessary supplies and aid are not provided soon, the people of east Aleppo are doomed. It is necessary to take immediate action. The skirmishes and bombings must be ceased immediately and unconditionally. The civilian population in the disaster areas should be relocated to safe zones and humanitarian aid should be delivered. It should not be forgotten that these people are not terrorists, but poor, innocent people merely trying to survive. It is an obvious fact that until today, neither the U.N. nor other international institutions and the Western coalition have been successful in solving the Syrian crisis. For this reason, the most important task in resolving the crisis and ensuring a lasting peace falls not only on warring local factions, but also, and perhaps even more so, on Russia, Turkey and Iran.