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Ceasefire needed now as crisis escalates across Syria


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Save the Children is calling for a 48 hour ceasefire in Aleppo before the end of the week (Friday) and immediate access for aid convoys to besieged areas, as the situation worsens across Syria.

AUDIO from *Rami an aid worker in Aleppo

The UN’s Special Envoy on Syria was forced to suspend today’s Humanitarian Taskforce meeting, amid reports that no aid has reached besieged areas for a month. People in areas like Madaya and Daraya say the situation is the worst it has been for months and supplies are running out, so all parties to the conflict must uphold their obligation to provide sustained humanitarian access.

In Aleppo, intense bombardment and siege of the city is continuing. A 48-hour ceasefire is the first step to bring in urgently needed aid and evacuate casualties, but it is not enough – there must be an end to the violence. Save the Children partners there say they’re no longer able to treat patients in their ambulances because they are in such a bad state, with most missing doors and windows. Two of their eight ambulances were hit in airstrikes last week.

All they can do now is pick up victims and get them to hospital as fast as possible, but with roads badly damaged by bomb craters that is increasingly a challenge. Their work is complicated by the fact that hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, and often unable to take new patients.

Kirsty McNeill, Director of Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns at Save the Children, said: “The photo of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, quietly sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance in Aleppo, has bought home the horror of life in Syria for many children.

“Yesterday one of our partners sent us a photo of another little boy. They had taken him to hospital following an airstrike, wearing special traditional Aleppo clothes that children wear for celebrations like birthdays. His gold and velvet jacket was ripped open, a bloody bandage on his head.

“They took him to hospital – but he died of his injuries. Our partner said that the boy “turned from a future dream for his parents into a dead body – they only kissed him a goodbye kiss and that’s it.”

“He was one of dozens of children who are reported to have been killed in Aleppo over the last few weeks. Across Syria, children are being bombed in their homes, schools and playgrounds. They are also being besieged – we heard today from the UN that no aid has entered areas like Daraya for a month now. The situation is dire.

“We urgently need a 48 hour ceasefire this week as a first step to get injured children out of Aleppo and bring aid in. But that is not enough – we must find a way to bring the siege and bombardment of civilians in Syria to an end. Children have already suffered too much.”

For more information and interviews, please contact c.anning@savethechildren.org.uk / +44207 012 6841 / +7785527663