'Aleppo one of most devastating modern conflicts'

Russia, U.S., ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria and others battle at expense of suffering civilian population.

Hillel Fendel,

Site of regime bombing in Aleppo
Site of regime bombing in Aleppo

The fighting in Syria's second-largest city is "beyond doubt, one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times." So says the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer.

Fighting in the city has been intensifying during the past weeks with hundreds of people killed and untold numbers injured. Public services have all but broken down. Two million people are trapped, and tens of thousands are without aid.

"No one and nowhere is safe," Maurer said Monday. "Shellfire is constant, with houses, schools and hospitals all in the line of fire. People live in a state of fear. Children have been traumatized. The scale of the suffering is immense. For four years, the people of Aleppo have been devastated by brutal war, and it is only getting worse for them."

The ICRC reports that tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, and many others forced to leave temporary shelters they had been living in.

The civil war in Syria between various opposition groups and the Assad regime has raged for over five years, with various estimates placing the total number of deaths at over 400,000. The U.S. backs the opposition, Russia supports Assad, and the Islamic State is involved as well. Russia has intimated that it might allow ceasefires of more than the current three hours a day in order to alleviate the suffering.

"The human cost of the fighting in Aleppo is simply too high," Maurer said. "We urge all parties to stop the destruction and indiscriminate attacks, and stop the killing. Parties involved in the fighting need to respect the basic rules of warfare, in order to prevent the loss of more innocent lives."

The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Aleppo report that they have been delivering nearly 50,000 meals and 500,000 liters of water each day for the past two weeks, in addition to providing other emergency services.

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