NEW YORK, 5th May, 2016 (WAM) – Indiscriminate bombardments, harrowing attacks targeting civilians and medical facilities, and widespread carnage had left Aleppo a shell of its former self, with “no corner of the city” spared, the ranking United Nations political and humanitarian affairs officials told a Security Council meeting.
Government aerial bombardment of Aleppo over the last two weeks represented some of the worst of the five-year-long war, said Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefing the 15-member Council on the current situation on the ground. The pattern of systematic destruction was evident he said, urging all parties to abide by the cessation of hostilities agreement. He also underscored the importance of the principles set out for a political transition, to be found in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the Vienna statements and the Geneva communiqu?. “We cannot waste the opportunity of the negotiations in Geneva,” he emphasized.
Providing a more detailed snapshot of Aleppo’s current state, Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, said life was horrendous and had lost all sense. Access to water and electricity was sporadic at best, and the estimated 300,000 people remaining in the eastern part of the city were living in constant fear of the next barrel bomb attack from the air, he noted. The estimated 1.3 million people in western Aleppo were seeking refuge from the shells and mortars slamming into their homes. “There can be no explanation or excuse, no reason or rationale, for waging war on civilians,” he said, emphasizing that such attacks must stop immediately. Urging full, unhindered and safe access to all those in need of medical, surgical and other assistance, including those in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, he said all parties must live up to their obligations under international humanitarian law and Council resolutions.