Dozens of Assad-Russian airstrikes hit rebel-held areas of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo day and night in a wide military operation to retrieve the city, adding more victims to the tragic death toll.
Assad regime said on Thursday it was starting a new wide offensive to recapture the rebel-held parts of Aleppo after a week-long ceasefire was declared officially over on Monday. the offensive includes a ground assault, artillery bombardment, and intensive airstrikes.
Since last Monday, more than 400 civilians have been killed in rebel-held areas of Aleppo province, including the besieged eastern part of the city, Civil defense workers said on Monday.
Intense air strikes toppled buildings and killed at least 91 civilians in Aleppo on Saturday, two days after the Syrian army announced an offensive to retake the rebel-held east of the city.
The Assad regime and Russia kept up the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 60 people, according to civili defense members.
The bobing continued overnight, harvesting more civilians’ lives.
Bebars Mishal, a civil defense worker in rebel-held Aleppo, said the bombardment continued until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT).
“It’s the same situation. Especially at night, the bombardment intensifies, it becomes more violent, using all kinds of weapons, phosphorous and napalm and cluster bombs,” Mishal told Reuters.
“Now, there’s just the helicopter, and God only knows where it will bomb. God knows which building will collapse,” he said.
Another civil defense worker, Ismail al-Abdullah, said the overnight bombardment had been less intense than it had been in the past few days and the morning was relatively quiet.
Brita Hagi Hassan, president of the city council for opposition-held Aleppo, said the bombardment over the past three days has been exceptional.
“The planes are not leaving the skies at all … Life in the city is paralyzed. Everyone is cooped up in their homes, sitting in the basements. These missiles are even targeting the basements and shelters that we’d set up to protect people,” he said from the Aleppo countryside. Hassan has been unable to get back into east Aleppo for several weeks because of the siege.
— DOAM (@doamuslims) September 26, 2016
More victims than the doctors can handle
Rescue efforts have been severely hampered because bomb damage has made roads impassable and because civil defense centers and rescue equipment have been destroyed in raids.
Civil defense worker Ammar al Selmo said rescuers have only two fire trucks and three ambulances left in Aleppo and that three fire trucks, two ambulances and three vans had been hit in the past week.
“We are trying to respond … but we don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” Selmo said, speaking from Gaziantep, Turkey after recently leaving east Aleppo.
The massive five-day assault has overwhelmed the already-depleted medical and rescue infrastructure.
Only 30 remaining doctors are currently serving 250,000 people in east Aleppo, the Syrian American Medical Society reported on Friday.
“There are 30 doctors who are still inside the eastern Aleppo city,” Abd Arrahman Alomar, a pediatrician who works for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in opposition-controlled areas, told a news briefing in Geneva.
“There are hundreds of injured people in the streets, in dangerous condition, some of them are being treated there,” Alaa al-Halabi, a citizen journalist in east Aleppo told Syria Direct on Sunday. “Others are moved to small houses serving as field hospitals. Those are overflowing too, with the dead and injured.”
“We do not have enough doctors to cope with such a high number of casualties,” said Ibrahim al-Hajj, a volunteer with the White Helmets, a rescue group that operates in rebel-held districts. He said more than 200 injured people are in makeshift hospitals.
They lack equipment and emergency medicine to treat the many trauma cases, and there is only enough fuel to run hospital generators for 20 days. One obstetrician and two paediatricians remain to care for pregnant women and 85,000 children, he said.
The Assad regime forces has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts of Aleppo this year, and this summer achieved a long-held goal of fully encircling the area.
Recovering full control of the rebels’ last significant urban area would be the most important victory of the war so far for Assad, strengthening his control over Syria’s most populous and strategically important regions.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.