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UN raises alarm as civilians flee Aleppo assault

Half a million children under siege in Syria: UNICEF

Published : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016 at 12:00 AM  Count : 170

GENEVA, Nov 29 : Up to 16,000 civilians have fled strife-torn parts of eastern Aleppo as the rebels lost all of the northern neighbourhoods of their stronghold, the UN said on Tuesday, describing the situation as "chilling".
"The intensity of attacks on eastern Aleppo neighbourhoods over the past few days has forced thousands of civilians to flee to other parts of the city," UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said in a statement.
He pointed to reports from the UN's humanitarian partners on the ground indicating that "up to 16,000 people have been displaced, many into uncertain and precarious situations".
"It is likely that thousands more will have no choice but to flee should fighting continue to spread and intensify over the coming days," he warned.
His comments came as the Syrian army advanced deep inside the longtime rebel stronghold of east Aleppo, taking several neighbourhoods from the opposition in an onslaught to recapture the entire city.
Meanwhile, as nearly 500,000 children are living under siege amid escalating violence across Syria, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called for lifting sieges and allowing immediate humanitarian access.
The number of children living under siege has doubled in less than one year, Xinhua news agency quoted UNICEF as saying in a press release.
"Nearly 500,000 children now live in 16 besieged areas across the country, almost completely cut off from sustained humanitarian aid and basic services," it added.
"For millions of human beings in Syria, life has become an endless nightmare -- in particular for the hundreds of thousands of children living under siege," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.    AFP, IANS

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