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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ban Ki-moon: Aleppo worse than a slaughterhouse

September 28, 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that those using “ever more destructive weapons” in Syria are committing war crimes and that the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo is worse than a slaughterhouse.

Ki-moon’s comments come days after Britain accused Russia and Syria of committing war crimes, with the US describing Russia’s so-called counter-terrorism operation as “barbarism.”

Washington says the offensive shows that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin have abandoned negotiations in order to seek battlefield victory, turning their backs on an earlier international consensus that no side could win by force.

According to Reuters, Al-Assad’s Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah allies have said in recent days that the war will be won in combat.

The Assad regime began a major offensive to retake Aleppo last week with enormous Russian support, leading to almost 800 civilian deaths in the beleaguered city’s eastern districts, including 200 women and children.

Assad regime pounds hospitals

Earlier today, Russian or Syrian warplanes knocked a major Aleppo hospital out of service and ground forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad intensified an assault on the city’s besieged rebel sector, in a battle that has become a potentially decisive turning point in the civil war that is now in its sixth year.

Shelling damaged at least another hospital and a bakery, killing six residents queuing up for bread under a siege that has trapped 250,000 people with food rapidly running out. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had reports that both hospitals were now out of service.

The WHO also reported earlier that only 35 doctors remained in eastern Aleppo, with other humanitarian organisations joining the WHO in calling for the sick and wounded to be evacuated to safe zones outside of Aleppo in order to provide urgent medical care.

A variety of munitions have been utilized against areas packed with civilians by Damascus and Moscow, including “vacuum” bombs, bunker-busters and incendiary munitions. The use of any of these weapons against civilian targets is a war crime.

“The warplane flew over us and directly started dropping its missiles … at around 4 am,” Mohammad Abu Rajab, a radiologist at the M10 hospital, the largest trauma hospital in the city’s rebel-held sector, told Reuters, adding “rubble fell in on the patients in the intensive care unit.”

Medical workers at the M10 hospital said its oxygen and power generators were destroyed and patients were transferred to another hospital in the area. There were no initial reports of casualties in the hospital.

Syria’s largest city before the war, Aleppo has been divided for years between government and rebel zones, and would be the biggest strategic prize of the war for Al-Assad and his allies. Taking full control of the city would restore near full government rule over the most important cities of western Syria, where nearly all of the population lived before the start of the war.

Source: Middle East Monitor.
Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160928-ban-ki-moon-aleppo-worse-than-a-slaughterhouse/.

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