Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian group that offers health care and emergency aid to people in need around the world, has pleaded to get access to the wounded and dying inside of Aleppo, Syria, a city that is under rebel control and that the Syrian government, along with Russia, has been bombing repeatedly in an attempt to get control back of the city. In the meantime, health officials say, there are only 35 physicians left in the city and approximately 275,000 people trapped in the city, many of them wounded or dying of malnutrition, according to Fox News.
Aleppo, which was mentioned during the presidential debate on Sunday night, has been gaining more media attention as the city completely crumbles under heavy airstrikes and rebel control, with reports that the city has now lost basic life-sustainers such as a supply of water. Rebels are now fighting the government to keep them away from the city’s largest water supply, which serves approximately one million people.
The international charity is calling for a halt to the airstrikes because the unarmed civilians are dying in the worst possible ways — reports of kidney failure from malnutrition and people laying outside of an overcrowded hospital have come from medical personnel inside the strike zone. Pablo Marco, Doctors Without Borders’ operation manager in the middle east, says that the bombing is “indiscriminate” and must end.
“Russia and Syria must stop the indiscriminate bombing now and abide by the rules of war to avoid the extreme suffering of the unprotected civilian population.”
The United Nations has warned that if the bombing continues, thousands of civilians will be dead by year’s end. The current Syrian government, led by Syrian President Bashar Assad, has prohibited the U.N. from delivering necessities for life, including seeds and dialysis kits, in an attempt to force rebels to surrender. The U.N. has said Assad’s “poor leadership” is contributing to countless deaths and human suffering. Head of Médecins Sans Frontières, Carlos Francisco, says the city is being flattened and destroyed. The city has been bombed daily for at least 30 days now, medical personnel say.
“They have been abandoned by the world – the whole world is witnessing the city being destroyed, but nobody is doing anything to stop it. This is the feeling shared by the 35 doctors left in east Aleppo. First, the surrounding areas were hit, then the roads leading into the city, then hospitals, water supplies, residential neighbourhoods, rescuers’ equipment. We are talking about a city exhausted by five years of war, which has received no aid since July, when the siege began – a city that is being devastated, flattened, in front of our eyes. What is clear is that we have lost the capacity to help in any major way. Now, they are basically in need of everything. They are telling us, ‘Send whatever you have – sterile gauze or non-sterile – we’ll take anything, we need everything’. But in these circumstances, we are powerless to help them.”
United States Secretary of State John Kerry says that the attacks on hospitals are “way beyond” accidental and the U.S. and France are calling for a war crime investigation, according to the Business Insider.
Doctors Without Borders has been banned from entering Aleppo for the last year, but Francisco has had daily contact with doctors inside the city’s borders, and says that the situation is “rapidly deteriorating” and has been for three weeks. The Daily Mail reports that four children were killed during air raids in East Aleppo just today.
The civil war, which began in 2011, has displaced half of the Syrian population and has already killed approximately 400,000 people. There seems to be no end in sight as Assad, aided by Russia, vows to take back rebel-dominated cities like Aleppo.
[Featured Image by Kutluhan Cucel/Getty Images]