WARNING: Amr al-Halabi’s report contains footage some may find disturbing.
Hospitals are struggling to cope in Syria’s Aleppo as government and Russian fighter jets continued to pound the city’s rebel-held east, killing more than 200 people in under a week.
Al Jazeera’s Amr al-Halabi, reporting from a makeshift hospital in the city, described a bleak situation as the hospital overflowed with dozens of dead and wounded people.
“Dead people are on the floor of this makeshift hospital,” Halabi said. “The situation here is desperate.”
Bodies littered the ground inside and outside the facility, as volunteers and relatives carried severly wounded people inside, looking for somehere to put them down on a floor already full with air raid victims.
“There is not enough space for us. We have to leave immediately to make more room for those injured,” Halabi said as a stream of ambulances ferried in the dead and wounded, overcrowding hospital wards.
“It looks like judgement day,” he said.
At an emergency meeting of the UN on Sunday, the US, Britain and France accused Russia, a key military backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, of war crimes.
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism. It is barbarism,” US Ambassador Samantha Power said.
“It is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes,” said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, adding that high-tech weaponry had inflicted “a new hell” on war-weary Syrians.
Since a ceasefire deal broke down last week, the Syrian government and Russia have intensified a barrage of air raids aimed at taking the east of the city from rebels.
‘We’re civilians here’
Russia’s Ambassador Vitaly Churkin conceded that the surge in violence over the past days meant that “bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now”.
But Churkin laid the blame for the ceasefire collapse with the US, accusing Washington of being unable to convince the rebel groups it backs to distance themselves from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group – formerly known as the Nusra Front and not included in the truce deal – and abide by the ceasefire.
Once Syria’s commercial centre, Aleppo has been ravaged by fighting and roughly divided since mid-2012 between government control in the west and rebel control in the east.
Its east has been under near-continuous siege since mid-July, causing food and fuel shortages. Attacks on water installations from both sides have left more than two million civilians without water.
“None of the bakeries are open any more because of the bombing and the shortages of fuel and flour, so people have started making their own bread,” 30-year-old Imad Habush from Bab al-Nayrab neighbourhood told the AFP news agency.
“I don’t know why the regime is bombing us in this barbaric way. We’re civilians here. We’re not carrying weapons, and we’re besieged. We have no way to escape.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also warned the use of advanced weaponry against civilians could amount to war crimes.
Ban called on world powers to “work harder for an end to the nightmare” in Syria that has forced nearly half of the country’s population to flee their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.
|US slams Russia over ‘barbarism’ in Syria|