Drone footage of Aleppo -- the city that has been at the scene of fierce fighting during Syria’s five-year civil war -- was released Friday and showed the intense devastation suffered by its residents.
The Anadolu Agency video of the war-torn city -- once Syria’s most populous with 2.3 million inhabitants and the country’s industrial and financial heart -- pictured buildings in the northern district of Tariq al-Bab largely reduced to hollow shells.
The neighborhood, which has been controlled by Free Syrian Army since 2012, was filmed on Thursday and the 2 minute 13 second video shows block after block of ravaged buildings. Despite the destruction, many residents can be seen going about their daily business and vehicles are visible on the streets.
The city has been a key site in the battles between opposition forces and regime troops backed by Russia. Around 275,000 people are currently under siege in the city, which dates back at least 4,000 years and is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.
The level of destruction, much of it caused by Syrian and Russian airstrikes, caused Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy to Syria, to warn on Thursday that Aleppo would be destroyed by the end of the year with thousands more civilian deaths.
“No one can deny that we are in an emergency mode regarding Syria, Aleppo and future of the conflict,” he told reporters in Geneva.
He called on an estimated 900 fighters from Fatah al-Sham Front, previously known as Nusra Front and considered a terrorist group by the UN, to leave eastern Aleppo. He said around 8,000 opposition fighters were resisting regime forces in the city.
Among the civilian population are an estimated 100,000 children. The death toll for the conflict has been estimated at more than 470,000 by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, a Beirut-based nongovernmental organization.