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Tuesday, 13 December 2016 - 1:08pm

We are desperately worried for civilians trapped in East Aleppo, including hundreds of children and humanitarian staff.

Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns for Save the Children said “We are desperately worried for the fate of children, aid workers and all civilians trapped in East Aleppo. Hundreds of children are believed to still be in the middle of a battlefield with their parents, or alone if they have been orphaned by the bombing. Our partners also have at least 300 humanitarian staff in the city still, living under intense bombardment with their families but fearing they will be arrested or killed if they try to leave.

“With no ambulances, food or medical facilities, the situation is catastrophic and has been for months. People’s worst fears of revenge attacks appear to have become reality – the UN says it has confirmed that 82 civilians, including 13 children, have been shot at close range and there are ‘numerous’ bodies lying in the street.

“The warring parties are ultimately responsible for civilian deaths and suffering. But the international community, in particular the five permanent members of the Security Council, also bear a grave responsibility for what is happening in Aleppo. They have utterly failed to protect the city’s children during months of siege, but there is at least now an opportunity for Britain to make every effort to end this carnage and safely evacuate the remaining civilians.  The emergency debate in the House of Commons today on Aleppo’s tragedy must be more than just words – we need to see urgent action by the UK to put pressure on the Russian government to ensure that safe routes are opened for civilians today. The government can also help to ensure that the humanitarian response to provide emergency assistance to people fleeing Aleppo is adequately funded.”

“We know that children can be evacuated safely if the political will is there – the International Committee of the Red Cross stands ready to help just outside the besieged enclave. Britain has a proud history of protecting children in war, and children have rarely needed our help as much as they do in Aleppo today.”