who have held east Aleppo for four years, are on the brink of defeat.
of people are reportedly trapped in the last remaining neighbourhoods
still in rebel hands, facing intense bombardment as pro-government
Syrian government's ally Russia, which has rejected calls for a
humanitarian truce, earlier said any atrocities were "actually
being committed by terrorist groups", meaning rebel forces.
UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Aleppo later on
filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last
hellish corner" of eastern Aleppo, UN human rights office
spokesman Rupert Colville told a news conference.
said that 82 civilians had reportedly been killed by pro-government
forces, of whom 11 were women and 13 children, adding that the death
toll could be much higher.
evening, we received further deeply disturbing reports that numerous
bodies were lying on the streets," Mr Colville added, while
admitting it was hard to verify the reports.
residents were unable to retrieve them due to the intense bombardment
and their fear of being shot on иsight."
reduced to rubble. Photo: AFP
Unicef quoted a doctor in the city as saying: "Many children,
possibly more than 100, unaccompanied or separated from their
families, are trapped in a building, under heavy attack in east
abu-Laith, a spokesman for the White Helmets volunteer rescue group,
said 90 percent of their equipment was out of operation and only one
medical point was still working in the besieged areas. There was no
first aid equipment left, he dded.
said volunteers were using their hands to pull people out of rubble,
but some 70 people were stuck and could not be extracted.
is hard to know exactly how many people are in the besieged areas,
although one US official with knowledge of efforts to secure safe
passage for people in the city said there were around 50,000 people.
local sources say there could be as many as 100,000, with people
arriving from areas recently taken by the government.
military says 98 percent of the city is now back in government hands.
to the AFP news agency, the rebels have control of just a handful of
neighbourhoods, including Sukkari and Mashhad.
Syrian army's Lt Gen Zaid al-Saleh said on Monday that the battle
"should end quickly", telling the rebels they "either
have to surrender or die".
UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights
(SOHR), has also said the battle for Aleppo had reached its end, with
"just a matter of a small period of time" before "a
residents fleeing the violence gather at a checkpoint, manned by
pro-government forces, in the village of Aziza on the southwestern
outskirts of Aleppo. Photo: AFP
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was alarmed by the reports of
atrocities and had instructed his special envoy to Syria to "follow
up urgently with the parties concerned".
and the UK requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council
for Tuesday to discuss "the worst humanitarian tragedy of the
21st Century unfolding before our eyes," AFP quoted ambassador
Francois Delattre as saying. The meeting was scheduled for 5pm GMT.
UN's humanitarian adviser on Syria, Jan Egeland, earlier spoke of
"massacres of unarmed civilians, of young men, of women,
children, health workers".
named a pro-government Iraqi Shia militia as being responsible for
the killings, but placed overall blame for any atrocities in the
hands of the Syrian and Russian governments.
who let them loose in this area are also accountable," he said.
response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Egeland was not in
full possession of the facts on the ground. "If he did, he would
be paying attention to the atrocities that are actually being
committed by terrorist groups," he said.
much of the past four years, Aleppo has been divided roughly in two,
with the government controlling the western half and rebels the east.
troops finally broke the deadlock with the help of Iranian-backed
militias and Russian air strikes, reinstating a siege on the east in
early September and launching an all-out assault weeks later.