Aleppo children beg to be rescued in heartbreaking video from bombed out Syrian city

Evacuations from the last rebel-held areas of the war-torn city are underway despite reports of sniper fire on an ambulance 

Thursday 15 December 2016 13:39
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Aleppo children beg to be rescued in heartbreaking video from bombed out Syrian city

A videoed message from children who say they live in an orphanage in one of the last pockets of rebel resistance in Aleppo has emerged in the final hours of battle for the Syrian city.

Around 30 children from toddlers to around 12 or 13 years of age wearing hats and winter clothing inside are crammed into the camera’s view, standing patiently in rows while a girl in the middle delivers a statement she has clearly committed to memory.

“My name is Jasmine Kaimouz and am 10-years-old. I am with 47 other children. They are like my brothers and sisters,” she says.

“This may be the last time you see or hear me. The planes are launching air strikes. In the name of human rights and child rights we hope they will get us out of Aleppo.

“We cannot go out because we are afraid of the bombs. We hope they can get us out of here. We want to live like the rest of the world. We want peace. We wish to live.”

The footage surfaced on Wednesday afternoon, before a new ceasefire deal to evacuate civilians and fighters from the city was reached.

It is not known how many people remain within the last rebel enclaves but evacuations began on Thursday morning which should take thousands to neighbouring rebel-held Idlib province before nightfall.

The operation was briefly halted after the White Helmets reported that one of their workers had been shot and killed and three others wounded by a pro-government militia sniper as they tried to clear the way for ambulances to pass.

The opposition-held east of the city has been devastated by an intense Russian-backed bombing campaign since September which has targeted schools, bakeries and medical facilities.

Since supply lines were cut off and siege barricades went up in July, the approximately 250,000 civilians in the area have been pushed to the brink of starvation, aid agencies have warned.

Thousands have died in the fighting for the contested city since 2012.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates more than 800 people in east Aleppo have died in air strikes since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s renewed campaign to recapture it began.

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