x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Aleppo airstrikes ‘kill 517 in two weeks’

Death toll from regime air strikes on the northern province of Aleppo includes 151 children since December 15, monitor says.

BEIRUT // Airstrikes by the Syrian regime on the northern province of Aleppo have killed at least 517 people, including 151 children, since December 15, a monitor said yesterday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a string of aerial attacks on the province, including the former commercial capital of Aleppo, with raids using explosives-packed barrels, had killed at least 46 opposition fighters, including 34 rebels and 12 militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But the majority of the dead were civilians.

The United Nations yesterday said it had completed the first aid airlift from Iraq to Syria, providing supplies to a difficult-to-access region of the war-torn country. “The last UNHCR [UN refugee agency] cargo flight landed today at Qamishli airport carrying assistance urgently needed by displaced persons,” the UNHCR said, referring to the location in north-east Syria.

It was the last of a 24-flight airlift by UNHCR, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and children’s agency Unicef, which started on December 15.

During the airlift, the UNHCR sent almost 300 tonnes of aid to help over 50,000 people deal with a harsh winter, while the WFP sent enough food to feed over 30,000 people for a month and Unicef provided “health kits, water and sanitation equipment”.

On Saturday, helicopters dropped TNT-packed barrels on a vegetable market and next to a hospital in Aleppo city, killing at least 25 civilians, according to the Observatory.

“The Observatory considers all those who remain silent in the international community as complicit in the massacres that have been committed and continue to be committed by the Syrian regime,” it said.

* Agence France-Presse