UN fears Aleppo assault could cut off thousands from food

United Nations warns hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians could cut off from food supplies amid concerns over possible encircle of opposition-held Aleppo by Russia-backed Syrian regime forces

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Russian air strikes displace 40,000 in Syria's Aleppo according to local sources

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians could be cut off from food supplies if opposition-held Aleppo was encircled by Russia-backed Syrian regime forces, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.

"It would leave up to 300,000 people, still residing in the city, cut off from humanitarian aid unless...access could be negotiated," the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"If government [Syrian regime] advances around the city continue," it said, "local councils in the city estimate that some 100,000 to 150,000 civilians may flee."

Syrian regime forces backed by Russian air strikes, Iranian Army Forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militants have carried out an extensive offensive around Aleppo, which is the biggest city in the country with 2 million population.

The UN is concerned that the new tragedies could occur is the last passage to Aleppo, along the Turkish border, is cut off by regime forces, which is the only entry way to reach food supplies to the area, since the war began.

Turkey has been following an open-door policy for civilians fleeing Syria, due to the conflict. Holding the world’s largest refugee population, Turkey already hosts more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

At the Oncupinar crossing in Turkey’s southern Kilis Province, the newest arrivals of refugees are being shepherded into camps on the Syrian side.

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Tuesday that Turkey will not close its doors to around 70,000 Syrian refugees, who are expected to reach the Turkish border, if Russian and Syrian regime offensives continue at this intensity.

Also, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, stated that Turkey has so far let in 10,000 of the roughly 50,000 refugees who have reached its Syrian border region, Oncupinar, since the Syrian regime began its offensive in Aleppo with its Russian-backed air strikes.

"We Syrians will be stuck between two evils if Turkey does not open the doors," said Khaled, 30, seeking to return to Aleppo to reach his wife and children. "We will have to choose between Russian bombardment or DAESH," he said.

Zaid Muhammad, a volunteer for Kesh Malek -a Syrian activist group in Aleppo- said that Russian air strikes have been "terrorising" Syrian people daily.

"For seven or eight hours a day they [warplanes] are invading the skies and terrorising the people psychologically," he said

Aleppo Resident Khalil Juma, 54, told Anadolu Agency that he and his family have been forced to flee their homes in Aleppo by Russian air strikes.

"We aren’t afraid of either [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad or his army," said Juma. "But these [Russian] warplanes have devastated us."

Russia’s controversial air strikes in Syria begun on September 2015.

Russian warplanes have frequently been targeting civilians and opposition fighters, despite Moscow’s claims that its air strike operations have been launched against DAESH.

Since war began in 2011, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million people displaced, according to UN figures.

TRTWorld and agencies