Wednesday, October 26, 2016

War continues in Aleppo after 3 day humanitarian ceasefire fails

Lexi Anderson

A humanitarian pause of the bombings in Aleppo took place on Thursday and extended into Saturday in an effort to help civilians escape the war ridden area, but this so-called plan to evacuate injured and vulnerable people was unsuccessful as the United Nations failed to gain access to Eastern Aleppo and aborted their plan. The violence has sinced resumed in the city, causing hope in Aleppo to decrease even more.
 This momentary ceasefire commenced on Thursday, Oct. 20 and ended on Saturday, Oct. 22, and was supposed to be a way for civilians to escape, however the United Nations has since aborted their plan, and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien claimed: “The evacuations were obstructed by various factors, including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo, conditions placed by non-state armed groups and the government of Syria’s objection to allowing medical and other relief supplies into the eastern part of the city.”  
 According to Russia, the period of “humanitarian” time was meant to differentiate moderate fighters from extremists, but rebel fighters, including Al-Farouk Abu Bakr--a commander of the Islamic group Ahrar al-Sham--said that they would not be leaving and would not back down, stating: “When we took up arms at the start of the revolution to defend our abandoned people we promised God that we would not lay them down until the downfall of this criminal regime.”
 The rebel fighters stuck to their word during the ceasefire, with none of them accepting the pause in fighting. This did nothing to help the United Nations, and according to O’Brien, no families or civilians were evacuated during the three-day pause. In addition, since Saturday, bombings and ground fighting have continued and even increased, according to the Observatory for Human Rights.
 At the start of the Syrian civil war, Aleppo was the most populous city in Syria. It was a place of pride for the country, boasting success in the textile, soap, and gold industries, which could be found across the Middle Eastern markets. The city was cherished and enjoyed by tourists coming to explore the medieval marketplace and venture into one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back to B.C. when it was a spot on the Silk Road.
 However, since the Syrian War has ravaged Syria, Aleppo has been hit harder than any place. The city has been split, with opposition forces in the East and Bashar al-Assad’s government controlling the West. Russia, in support of Assad, has been continually bombing and destroying the Eastern half of Aleppo, causing over hundreds of thousands of deaths, including 218 civilian deaths in opposition held areas and 178 in government held areas in August alone. European foreign ministers have severely criticized Assad, Russia, and other allies for the outrageous and unreasonable bombings that have hit Aleppo and continue to kill hundreds of innocent people each month. They even have recently amounted the terror to war crime status.
  Before this ceasefire started, the United Nations stated that they couldn’t guarantee that they would be able to effectively carry out any aid operations, and had proposed a resolution to stop the bombing in Aleppo in order to establish real humanitarian aid. However, Moscow vetoed this resolution.
 Aleppo is on the brink of extinction. Contrary to what some may think, such as presidential candidate Donald Trump who believes Aleppo has indeed fallen, there is still time to save the city, however action is needed now. According to the Syrian envoy of the United Nations, if we cannot find any solution to save Aleppo between now and December, it will no longer exist. As more and more people continue to die each day without any clear resolution in the horizon it is imperative that stronger actions must take place or else this historic and iconic city will fall.


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