Aleppo: Footage shows injured children so traumatised they have stopped crying

Thousands of civilians remain stranded in rebel-held pockets of the city

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Saturday 17 December 2016 10:59 GMT
Aleppo's children have suffered unimaginable trauma
Aleppo's children have suffered unimaginable trauma (Screenshot/Channel 4)

Some of the thousands of children caught up in the devastating siege of Aleppo are so traumatised that they have stopped crying.

According to the United Nations, at least 2,700 children were among 8,000 evacuees allowed to leave the war-torn Syrian city in recent days.

But many more remain trapped in the remaining rebel-held areas.

In video footage, aired by Channel 4 News, one toddler, called Aya, sits on a stretcher in Aleppo’s last hospital, her face covered in dust and dried blood.

As chaos engulfs the room around her, the toddler doesn’t cry.

Her mother, Um Fatima, the only surviving adult of three families whose apartment block was obliterated by a Russian or Syrian bomb, says the family was sleeping when their home was hit.

The footage shows the unimaginable horrors suffered by the last remaining civilians waiting for safe passage to neighbouring towns in the rebel-held province of Idlib.

Mahmoud, a teenage neighbour of Um Fatima, cradles his one-month-old brother Ishmael Mohamed who was suffocated to death in the apartment collapse.

He says: “God will avenge us against this oppressor (Assad).”

Two other small children, a brother and sister, are seen wandering the blood-stained hospital corridors.

They are dust-covered and shell-shocked, looking for their mother. Neither is crying.

A nurse is heard asking adults: “Are these your children?”

Evacuation efforts of east Aleppo were halted on Friday following reports of a breakdown in the agreed ceasefire.

"Aleppo is now a synonym for hell," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, urging a resumption of the evacuation.

Barack Obama accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with his Russian and Iranian allies, of committing “atrocities”.

“The world as we speak is united in horror at the savage assault by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo,” he said.

“It should be clear that although we may achieve tactical victories, over the long term, the Assad regime cannot slaughter its way to legitimacy.”

Speaking from the White House, the US President also called for a broader ceasefire to facilitate a political solution.

“We all know what needs to happen, there needs to be an impartial, international observer force in Aleppo. They can help coordinate an orderly evacuation through safe quarters. There has to be full access for humanitarian aid,” he said.

“Beyond that there needs to be a broader ceasefire that can serve as the basis for a political rather than a military situation.”

On Thursday, the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, put the number of people remaining in east Aleppo at 50,000.

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