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Activists in Aleppo Beg For International Help

By Linda Gradstein | The Media Line

November 24, 2016

Syrian men carrying babies make their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on Aleppo, on September 11, 2016. / AFP / AMEER ALHALBI (Photo credit should read AMEER ALHALBI/AFP/Getty Image
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Iran says 1000 of its soldiers killed fighting in Syria

Dressed in scrubs or work clothes, one woman holding a baby, the Syrian activists begged the world to help them by stopping the unrelenting attacks on Aleppo by the Russian air force and troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“This has been a slow motion train wreck and this message is from the people who lasted in Aleppo to the world. Don’t look back years from now and wish that you can do something, you can still do,” Dr. Hamza Al-Khatib, wearing green scrubs and with a stethoscope around his neck, said in the video appeal. “We ask you to ground Assad air force that’s killing us or at least have some diplomatic leverage to force the Syrian regime and Russia’s bombardment of the city of Aleppo to be stopped.”

Residents in Aleppo say there is virtually no medical care available in the city for more than 250,000 people. Last week, four hospitals were bombed, as well as schools. Since the beginning of the month, he said, there have been At least 2,300 documented strikes in the last 23 days: Airstrikes, explosive barrels, artillery, cluster bombs, bunker-busters, and bombs loaded with chlorine gas.

“The situation is dire in Aleppo right now, the area is completely besieged. Dr. Khaula Sawah, CEO of The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) USA told The Media Line. “No one can go in to help civilians, no supplies or medical aid are able to reach these areas, patients cannot be transported out no matter how serious their condition. Continuous shelling has caused a major deficiency in rescue teams and emergency vehicles. People are trapped under the rubble, there are insufficient rescue teams to help save these lives.”

He said that since the beginning of the fighting in March 2011, an estimated 710 medical staff have been killed throughout Syria. Activists say more than 500,000 people have been killed in the fighting; the UN puts the number at about 400,000.

What is clear is that people trapped in Aleppo are growing increasingly desperate. The video appeal came as an Iranian government spokesman announced that 1000 Iranian soldiers have been killed fighting in Syria since the conflict began. Yet activists doubt that the growing casualties will have any effect.

“The Iranians do not care about their own people,” Fadel Abdul Ghany, the founder of The Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is a member of  a coalition of civil society and humanitarian groups from inside and outside Syria called Save Our Syria,  told The Media Line. “You won’t see demonstrations in the streets of Iran against the war.”

Abdul Ghany agreed that the situation in Aleppo is growing increasingly desperate and said that within a month there will be no food left in stores and markets. He called on the international community to do more to stop the fighting.

“If there is no real pressure on Assad, the fight will not end,” he said. “The regime feels it has power and support from Russia and Iran. We need to pressure both of these countries with economic sanctions.”

He also said that the international community, led by the US, has failed the people of Syria by staying out of the conflict. He said that economic sanctions could motivate Iran to stop fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad and warned that if nothing is done soon, there will be a humanitarian disaster in Aleppo.

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