UN warns of 'giant graveyard' in Aleppo

As the Security Council met for emergency talks on the fighting in New York, Syria's opposition urged the UN to take immediate steps to protect civilians.

UN warns of 'giant graveyard' in Aleppo

World Bulletin / News Desk

The UN's aid chief warned Wednesday that Aleppo risked becoming a "giant graveyard" after more than 50,000 people were reported to have fled intense fighting between government and rebel forces.

A Syrian government offensive to retake all of the divided city has battered Aleppo in recent days, with regime shelling on an opposition-controlled area reported to have killed at least 26 civilians.

Artillery shells rained down on one southeastern rebel-held district. The motionless body of a girl lay crumpled in the street, her arm severed and her head pierced by shrapnel. Rescue volunteers carried her body away on a motorcycle.

Speaking to a special Security Council session by video-link from London, Stephen O'Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, appealed for action to stop the fighting.

"For the sake of humanity we call on -- we plead -- with the parties and those with influence to do everything in their power to protect civilians and enable access to the besieged part of eastern Aleppo before it becomes one giant graveyard," he said.

Civilians have poured out of the besieged rebel-held east, battered by air strikes and heavy artillery fire by the advancing forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Government troops and allied fighters have seized a third of the rebel-held east of Aleppo since they began an operation to recapture all of the city just over a fortnight ago.

They now fully control the city's northeast and pressed their offensive Wednesday on Aleppo's southeastern edges, advancing in the Sheikh Saeed district, according to state news agency SANA.

The loss of Aleppo would be the biggest blow for Syria's opposition since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests, before spiralling into a civil war.

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Last Mod: 30 Kasım 2016, 21:02
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