Over 500 killed in Aleppo in 10 days, monitor says

As regime forces approach Syria’s largest city, fears grow for hundreds of thousands who will be caught in the fighting

Syrians fleeing the embattled northern city of Aleppo wait near a crossing into Turkey in Bab-Al Salama, near the northern city of Azaz, on February 5, 2016. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)
Syrians fleeing the embattled northern city of Aleppo wait near a crossing into Turkey in Bab-Al Salama, near the northern city of Azaz, on February 5, 2016. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

More than 500 people, including dozens of civilians, have been killed since a major Russian-backed regime offensive in Syria’s Aleppo province began this month, a monitor said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources in Syria for its figures, said the toll of 506 included 23 children killed in Russian airstrikes on the city of Aleppo and its surroundings since the operation was launched on February 1.

The fighting has driven a new flood of refugees from the area.

On Tuesday, Doctors Without Borders said some 23,000 new arrivals fleeing Aleppo were in urgent need of emergency shelter and support near Syria’s border with Turkey.

In a press release, the group said it had increased the number of beds in its hospital in Azaz district to 36 beds from 28 and was preparing to extend capacity if necessary. Hundreds of blankets, tents, mattresses and other supplies have been distributed to arrivals.

The group also said it had pre-positioned aid inside Aleppo in the event supply lines get cut, warning of an impending food, water and fuel crisis in the coming weeks.

The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people in Syria’s largest city could soon be cut off from humanitarian aid amid blistering Syrian and Russian airstrikes and is calling on Turkish authorities to open the border to help those fleeing the violence.

The UN humanitarian office OCHA said Tuesday that 300,000 people could be cut off from aid if the Syrian government and allied forces encircle Aleppo and deprive those fleeing of their last way out. Laying out contingency plans, OCHA said local leaders believe up to 150,000 people could try to flee to nearby Afrin and the surrounding countryside.

The refugee agency UNHCR also called on Turkey to open its borders to allow in people who have already fled Aleppo.

Most Popular
read more: