Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Aleppo: Nearly 50 orphans rescued in 'glimmer of hope' for Syrian city's children

Unicef praises successful evacuation but warns much more is needed to safeguard children fleeing the city amid reports three died of cold overnight

Monday 19 December 2016 16:31 GMT
Aleppo children beg to be rescued in heartbreaking video from bombed out Syrian city

The group of orphans who recorded a heartbreaking message begging to be rescued from the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo have arrived safely in neighbouring Idlib province, Unicef says.

“This morning, all 47 children trapped in an orphanage in east Aleppo were evacuated to safety, with some in critical condition from injuries and dehydration,” the organisation said in a statement on Monday.

“The evacuation of these orphans, along with thousands of other children from east Aleppo in the past days is a glimmer of hope amid a grim reality for the children of Syria.”

A video of the children which showed the desperation of those left in rebel-held areas of the city as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces closed in was shared around the world last week.

“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,” 10-year-old Jasmine Kaimouz said, surrounded by boys and girls wearing winter clothing inside.

“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,” she added.

The video surfaced before a second ceasefire deal to evacuate civilians and fighters from the city was reached.

Since then, days of hold ups and accusations of violence from both sides have left the estimated 50,000 people still inside Aleppo’s last rebel enclaves frightened and confused as they hope for seats on the regime’s green buses.

Many have been waiting outside in the freezing conditions for more than 48 hours, or trapped on cold buses delayed at checkpoints for hours on end, which has contributed to the deaths of three infants, Turkish charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said.

The large-scale movement of people from the city to neighbouring rebel-held Idlib appeared to be back underway on Monday, with more than 3,000 people evacuated overnight on Sunday, officials said.

Unicef and other agencies are trying to get medical care and winter clothing to children in need – but the fall of the city happened so quickly it left very little time to adequately prepare for the influx of people arriving in the rural area.

Idlib, while safer than the siege conditions in which people in east Aleppo were trapped since July, has also been subject to vicious Russian-backed regime bombing over the last few months.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in