Thousands of Children in Syria Face Fresh Attack from Cluster Bombs, Shelling and Artillery Fire, as Ceasefire Breaks Down

Syrian Children's Relief Fund

 

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Fairfield, Conn. (December 14, 2016) — Thousands of children are believed to be trapped in East Aleppo, many reportedly in the besieged area without their parents, having been orphaned or separated from their families, and are facing an ongoing threat of death or injury, as they try to hide from constant attack.

Save the Children is receiving gravely concerning information from partners as artillery fire and airstrikes resumed in East Aleppo this morning, hours after the proposed ceasefire collapsed. Our contacts report that more than 100 shells fell over the area this morning with witnesses also reporting the use of deadly cluster bombs.

Speaking from East Aleppo today, Abu Rajab, a doctor told us: “The agreement has been broken. Hundreds of shells fell on us. It’s a dire medical situation. There are no ambulances. People are bleeding to death in the streets.”

Rami*, an aid worker with Shafak, our partner organization working in the remains of the last medical facility in East Aleppo, told us that the damaged facilities were crowded with women and children. He told us that patients are arriving with complicated injuries, and are unable to be treated.

“Everyone is attending to women and children. They (medics) are receiving children injured by the cluster shrapnel. The hospital can do nothing. They are totally paralyzed under these circumstances” Rami* said.

“The hospital has five people with abdominal injuries in need of operations, two others need vascular operations, five need orthopaedic surgery and seven need neural operations. Most of them are dying because the doctors can’t look after them. Right now there are seven surviving on one manual ventilator because there is no oxygen.”

The number of people injured today is impossible to count, with families reportedly hiding wherever they can and medics unable to get outside to treat casualties because of the intense attacks. Our contacts have confirmed that planes have been circling the area, with growing concerns that airstrikes will continue.

“We expect a number of children to have been injured or killed in today’s shelling, particularly given the use of cluster bombs which we know will have a devastating impact, in an increasingly compact area,” said Nick Finney, Save the Children’s North-West Syria Country Director. “This morning should have been the start of medical casualties coming out of East Aleppo to receive vital treatment and for children and other civilians to be given safe passage to other areas. Instead the number of children desperate for treatment is increasing by the hour.”

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