Via ReliefWeb, a report from OCHA: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien Statement to the Security Council on Syria, New York, 29 September 2016. Excerpt:
Thank you very much indeed. Where to start? It is with raw grief, with dismay, intense sadness, frustration, and an unquenchable anger at the excess of sheer and unbridled horror – way beyond even the apex of horror of a fortnight ago – that I report today to you, the Security Council, on the ultimate humanitarian shame that is Syria today, and in east Aleppo in particular.
The people of Syria – and most immediately, the people of east Aleppo – are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death in increasing numbers and with increasing ferocity. This is not an unforeseen result of forces beyond our control. This is due to the action of parties to the conflict and it is the direct result of inaction – be it through unwillingness or inability – by the international community, including most notably those present in this chamber.
It is now a legitimate question to ask whether there is any level of disaster and death that can be visited upon the Syrian people that might prompt the parties to this conflict, and by extension the international community, to identify a red line that will not be crossed.
This is not a distant conflict in which we as a community have only a passing stake – this is a critical test of the capacity and willingness of those in this chamber to make a decision and take action. To manifestly uphold the words of the Charter of the UN to which all nations are bound: to save the Syrian people from the scourge of war.
The last seven days have seen an intensification of attacks across the country. From airstrikes in Deir ez-Zour, to airstrikes and ground attacks in Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Idleb and Rural Damascus and other governorates, fighting has intensified despite a one-week lull when the cessation of hostilities was reinstated, albeit with violations on all sides.
Nowhere has the fighting been more intense in the last days than in east Aleppo. Following the announcement by the Syrian Ministry of Defence of an offensive on 22 September, estimates are that some 320 civilians were killed and 765 injured in the first days. Over 100 children have been killed. These are not simply numbers to be added to a tally, these are individuals, family lives that we have collectively failed to save.
The alleged use of new “bunker busting” bombs has reportedly caused mass destruction in an area that has already been decimated. This means there are bodies of babies, children, women and men stuck unrecovered in the rubble of basements up to 20 metres down where they had taken refuge – and where they had been safe until the use of these recently introduced weapons.
Airstrikes are reported to have hit three of the four civil defence centres in east Aleppo, injuring staff, and severely limiting their capacity to respond.
On 22 September, attacks rendered the Bab Al-Nayrab water pumping station inoperable, stopping water to most of east Aleppo.
On 24 September, multiple airstrikes struck the Jisr Al-haj area in eastern Aleppo City, reportedly damaging warehouses belonging to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and killing one of the few remaining doctors in east Aleppo, as well as his wife - a senior midwife.
Just yesterday, two of the eight remaining hospitals, including two of four surgical units, were attacked and rendered out of service. I echo the words of the Secretary-General who briefed you yesterday:
“Those using ever more destructive weapons know exactly what they are doing. They know they are committing war crimes”.