Airstrikes in Aleppo killed about 85 people this Sunday, breaking the cease to the fire accorded not long ago. The Syrian government performed these airstrikes as part of the offensive against the rebels. The opposition claimed that the bombardment was worse than the attacks executed previous to the ceasefire.
The exact amount of victims is not yet clear since the destruction of infrastructure does not allow activists nor reporters to calculate the real loss. It is possible that more people died and ended under the remains of destroyed buildings or facilities.
The bombardment affected more than 300 people, according to the initial information released by the Aleppo Media Center, an opposition group that has been documenting the conflict in the region.
Rescue operations are limited in the area since there is a constant presence of jets who suppose a high level of danger to activists. The attacks are even worse since the condition of hospitals in Aleppo is precarious, and there are not enough health care facilities to attend surviving victims of the strikes.
According to UNICEF, the attacks damaged the water pipes in both eastern and western regions of Aleppo, so there is no access to clear water in the area, which is also affecting the surviving population.
Eastern Aleppo is the area where more violence have been detected. Around 250,000 civilians claimed to be under government forces’ attacks, who are trying to control the area and eradicate the rebels’ positions. Airstrikes have increased considerably since the ceasefire signed at the United Nations fell apart last week and violence is more intense in the region.
The United States vs. Russia
The Security Council held an emergency session to discuss the crisis in Syria, where world leaders discussed the decision the Syrian government took to execute offensive attacks on regions in Aleppo, which includes not only airstrikes but also ground actions, supported by the Russian power elite. American, British and French diplomats requested the session considering the aggressive push of the Syrian government to control eastern Aleppo.
That meeting was tense, and diplomats from the United States accused the Russian authorities of implementing barbarism in the Syrian conflict instead of counterterrorism, as the Russian government claims.
“Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and Assad make war. Instead of helping get life-saving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive,” said Samantha Power, US spokeswoman in the UN’s Security Council.
However, Russian Ambassador to the UN stated that decisions made by the American authorities to support rebels are creating barriers to normalize the situation. To Russia, The United States are not allowing to execute humanitarian efforts since they are helping armed groups.
But even when the ceasefire brokered by the U.S. and Russia failed, diplomats and representatives are trying to establish it again. This process, however, will be more difficult while authorities keep accusing each other of not successfully control the actions that are taking place on the ground. There is a severe deficit of trust in the actors involved.
In the end, how rebels and the Syrian government troops behave in the ground is what determines whether the ceasefire will work or not.
Delivering aid to Syria
Various international bodies and organizations provide aid to people in Syria, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are one of the leading agencies that work towards this goal.
This office tracks and coordinates the financial assistance and the different response plans to each crisis. Humanitarian Aid is often needed in Aleppo, where civilians are suffering the effects of the conflict directly.
The United Kingdom diplomats showed concern about who is being the victim of the attacks and who is getting the aid. UK Foreign Secretary accused Russian authorities of making the conflict even worse and is not only helping the Syrian government hurt civilians but is doing it on its own.
When it comes to instances such as the bombing of civilian targets in Aleppo, we should be looking at whether or not that targeting is done in the knowledge that those are wholly innocent civilian targets. That is a war crime, said UK’s representative.
UN Secretary also condemned “the chilling military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict,” said Ban Ki-moon when discussing the use of airstrikes, bunker bombs and other weapons employed by the Syrian government.