Aleppo on brink of siege, warns Inquiry commission

Geneva, Aug 16 (IANS) The Independent Commission of Inquiry of Syria on Tuesday warned that the intensified attacks to control rebel-held areas and main supply lines in Aleppo are in tune with the use of siege warfare.

“These attacks appear to form the prelude to a siege, designed to force the capture of the city through an already-documented strategy of ‘surrender or starve’,” Xinhua news agency quoted the commission as saying.

“Neighbourhoods of Aleppo city are now being pounded daily by aerial bombardments by the government and pro-government forces, causing mass civilian casualties,” a commission statement said.

According to the commission, over 25 hospitals and clinics including maternity hospitals, paediatric units and emergency wards were destroyed by aerial bombardments since the beginning of 2016.

“There is limited food, water, and supplies for babies and infants. Access to medical care in these areas is largely non-existent,” it said.

The commission also documented scores of civilians dying in government-held areas, as coalitions of armed groups including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, and the militant group Jabhat Fatah al-Sham conduct indiscriminate ground shelling to counter government military attacks.

“The situation in Aleppo has been catastrophic for many years. As unthinkable as it is, the current attacks suggest the agony of its civilians is about to deepen,” the commission warned.



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