In the early morning hours of Tuesday, forces loyal to Bashar al Assad launched a final offensive to retake the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo. Residents on the ground, activists, and international NGOs have reported unprecedented violence as Assad’s forces attempt to retake the city.
The United Nations said at least 82 civilians, including women and children, have been killed by forces loyal to Assad over the last four days. The UN also documented thousands of people fleeing the city.
Online, the violence has led to pleas for help from residents trapped in the eastern part of the city. Outside the country, people are calling for accountability from Western powers and other Arab governments, whom they accuse of not doing enough to stop the carnage.
The enemy has become very close.
we will fight to defend ourselves more and more.
Never give up, win or die#aleppo
— Faisal M. AlAswad (@faisal_alaswad) December 12, 2016
My contact in #Aleppo: Hundreds of people (families, children, elderly) are on the streets, the weather is cold and there is nowhere to go.
— Mustafa Bağ (@mustafa__bag) December 12, 2016
As regime forces advanced, residents said their goodbyes and expressed their fears of what was to come.
— هادي العبدالله Hadi (@HadiAlabdallah) December 12, 2016
U guess it's goodbye..
Thanks all who stand for us and pay for us.
But it's almost over and they are just hours away of killing us
— Rami Zien (@Rami_Zien) December 12, 2016
I can tweet now but I might not do it forever. please save my daughter's life and others. this is a call from a father.
— @Mr.Alhamdo (@Mr_Alhamdo) December 12, 2016
We are receiving from Aleppo questions like this one, can a man kill his wife or sister before she is raped by Assad Forces in front of him?
— Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi (@Shaykhabulhuda) December 13, 2016
Others voiced their frustration at the outside world for not doing enough to fight back against Assad and his allies.
Last message from this old man in Aleppo: 'We don't have anything left. Oh Arabs, where are you? We are being slaughtered. Safe us.' pic.twitter.com/E1sws1s2Y8
— Sakir Khader (@sakirkhader) December 12, 2016
— @Mr.Alhamdo (@Mr_Alhamdo) December 10, 2016
Moscow, a long-time ally of Assad's has been singled out for their role in the aerial campaigns in civilian areas and their continued support of the Syrian regime leader.
The Gov'ts of Syria & Russia are accountable for any and all atrocities that the victorious militias in Aleppo are now committing!
— Jan Egeland (@NRC_Egeland) December 12, 2016
Local and international agencies reported in November that the city's infrastructure, including health services, were nearly wiped out by a series of airstrikes and helicopter barrel bombs.
The doctors have been executed. The activists begging for help.
The children crying for their dead parents. Where is the humanity? #Aleppo
— Nour Ali (@dumblenour) December 13, 2016
Outside the country, users likened the situation in Aleppo to previous international tragedies.
— Thomas van Linge (@arabthomness) December 12, 2016
In 1995, more than 8,300 Muslim Bosnians were killed by the forces of General Ratko Mladik, who was tried for war crimes in 2012.
There are varying estimates of the number of civilians still trapped in the city, which prior to the 2011 uprisings was home to more than two million people.
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) December 13, 2016
With Assad and his allies almost certain to retake full control of the city, news from Aleppo itself has slowed as residents live in fear of what the days ahead may bring.
I would like to thank all the humans whose stood for the humanity with our case, i will never forget you if we passed to the other life
— Monther Etaky (@montheretaky) December 12, 2016