Turkey | Syria: Flash Update - Developments in Eastern Aleppo (as of 25 November 2016)

Situation Report
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  • Hostilities have significantly intensified since 15 November with reports of notable increase in air strikes and shelling, as well as alleged chlorine gas attacks on residential areas.

  • Humanitarian and commercial supplies are dwindling in non-State armed group- held areas of eastern Aleppo City amid escalation of conflict

  • The United Nations continue to advocate for a ‘4-point plan’ to parties to the conflict to assist civilians in eastern Aleppo City

Situation Overview

During the reporting period, hostilities have resumed around Aleppo City. Increased shelling, missile attacks and barrel bombs have reportedly killed and injured many civilians in residential neighborhoods. According to the White Helmets, 500 people have been killed and 1,600 have been wounded since 15 November. This period has also seen a significant increase in shelling from eastern Aleppo into residential areas of western Aleppo, causing an increasing number of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure. As of 17 November, local partners have registered 21,850 displaced people (4,370 families) in western Aleppo.

Air attacks on Al-Sha’ar neighborhood in eastern Aleppo temporarily rendered the Al-Bayan and Al-Hakeem Children’s hospitals out of service on 16 November. Both of these hospitals provided an average of 6,300 consultations and 660 admissions on a monthly basis. On 17 November, Az-Zarzour hospital was badly damaged by shelling, resulting in the destruction of the emergency unit and the hospital entrance. This hospital provided an average of 3,000 consultations per month. Moreover, on 18 November, the Omar Bin Abd Al-Aziz hospital was badly damaged by shelling which resulted in the killing of two people and the wounding of seven, including two health personnel. In the aftermath, an ambulance and the hospital building sustained minor damage. The hospital offered an average of 4,374 consultations on a monthly basis. Subsequently, all of the aforementioned facilities are still out of service.

In a desperate effort to respond to an alarming rate of emergency cases over the past week, first responders have been forced to refer hundreds of cases to the two last remaining hospitals, Al-Quds and Al-Sakhour, which only have very limited capacity due to damages sustained in previous attacks and lack of medical supplies. This dramatic shortage in space, supplies and equipment has seen many health professionals resort to desperate measures of response, such as stabilizing trauma patients on the street outside hospitals, in basements and in bunkers, and using equipment salvaged from previously damaged hospitals. Additionally, a severe shortage of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) related medical supplies, including sedatives, tranquilizers, anesthetic and antibiotics, have left many medical professionals without resources to treat those in critical condition.

Amid a severe shortage of food rations, health essentials and other life-saving supplies in eastern neighborhoods of the city, the United Nations issued a dire warning earlier this month to the international community about the threat of starvation in eastern Aleppo as winter approaches. The last time humanitarian aid was delivered to the besieged part of the city was early July, some weeks before the last non-State armed groups-controlled supply route was cut by Syrian Government advances. Since the besiegement almost 4 months ago, prices of scarce basic food and fuel supplies have dramatically risen to levels that most remaining civilians are unable to afford. A number of initiatives to deliver assistance over this period have been blocked due to a number of factors, including delays in receiving necessary approvals and conditions placed by all parties, and have further thwarted hopes of reaching an estimated 275,000 people in dire need of assistance.

To address the urgent need for humanitarian assistance, the United Nations have developed a 4-point plan to deliver medical, food and other life-saving assistance to those in need and to allow much needed medical expertise to the city by rotating in medical staff. The plan also aims to evacuate critically-injured and sick people from eastern Aleppo. Negotiations are currently underway with all parties to the conflict in order to implement this much needed plan, with non-state armed groups in Aleppo City releasing a statement accepting the plan in principle on 20 November.

The food situation in eastern Aleppo is particularly alarming. According to WFP, their last remaining stockpile of food rations warehoused by partners was completely exhausted by 13 November. The Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster reports that one partner has 1,327 food rations left in stocks, effectively leaving eastern Aleppo without any available food.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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