Assad and Putin’s assault turns on Aleppo countryside forcing more to flee to overcrowded camps
The countryside around Aleppo is facing constant bombardment from Russian and Syrian airstrikes. Thirty-two people have been killed in the past six days and 31,000 have fled the area, which was until last week considered relatively safe from Assad’s bombs.
Yesterday nine people from one family, including six children, were killed after Russian warplanes targeted their home in Kafar Taal, western Aleppo.
Many humanitarian and social workers are being forced to leave with everyone else, while education centres are closing due to the risk of bombing.
Mohamed Barakat, manager of a Kesh Malek community center in Urem, western Aleppo, made the tough decision to leave with his family. “A new wave of mass displacement is taking place in western and southern Aleppo countryside due to the barbaric bombing of the regime and russian warplanes,” he said. “Everyone here fears we will have the same fate as Maarat al-Numan and Kafranbel, bombed until the cities are empty. Schools are suspended and exams have been postponed because we fear being targeted.
“With the freezing winter, those on the run are struggling to find shelter, some can’t afford transportation. With the camps overwhelmed and the high rents, it’s almost impossible. Some have to stay out in the open or in unfinished buildings with no access to basic services.”
Humanitarian organisations cannot keep up with the number of people forced from their homes. They are still responding to the mass displacement from Maarat al-Numan and other cities further south in Idlib.
Some White Helmet volunteers have been forced to leave with their families while others remain to continue vital search and rescue operations.
“Day after day, we see more death, heartbreak, and people lost with nowhere to go. They see death at every corner. They’re our people, our families and our hearts are with them. We do our best to save them and help them, but there’s just too much pain. The war crimes we’re witnessing are unbearable,” said Ibrahim Haj Ibrahim, a White Helmet volunteer in Aleppo.
Laila Kiki, Executive Director of The Syria Campaign said: “Another week and dozens more families are mourning the loss of their children in Assad’s relentless bombing of family homes. The numbers of people being pushed into overcrowded camps or forced to sleep out in the open in freezing temperatures are shockingly high yet our calls for an end to the bombing are met with a shrug of the shoulders and a dismissive, ‘what can be done’?
“When our world leaders have no answers for the killing of children as they sleep and study we must shout all the more for an end to the war crimes.”