Aleppo on Verge of Extermination: Syrian Civil Society Demand Civilian Protection  

[24 September, New York] The residents of besieged Aleppo fear they are on the verge of an impending extermination following the Syrian regime’s declared offensive on Aleppo. 150 civilians have been killed in the past three days. Rescue workers and their vehicles have been targeted. Now, a new spate of indiscriminate attacks involving the use of incendiary weapons and ‘bunker buster bombs’ or ‘vacuum bombs’ in civilian areas by Syrian regime or Russian forces have terrorised the residents of the besieged city.    

In response, Syrian doctors, rescue workers and activists – many from Aleppo itself – are calling on Member States to take concrete action to protect Aleppo’s 300,000 civilians, as well as civilians throughout Syria, through the enforcement of a nationwide no-bomb zone:  

“The people of Aleppo are facing a humanitarian crisis while those with the power to act choose failed diplomacy between America and Russia instead of concrete action to save lives. Without action by Member States to protect civilians, more vulnerable patients and medical workers will die", said Dr Mahmoud Moustafa, Director of Independent Doctors Association.  

“We have exhausted all the options of civilian protection – we’ve even dug hospitals underground and in caves, as if we are living in the Middle Ages”, Raed al Saleh, head of the White Helmets, said.    

But the new use of "bunker busting" weapons by the Syrian regime has meant that even hospitals operating underground are no longer immune from deliberate attacks by the Syrian regime and Russian forces. In the face of such inhumanity, Syrian civil society are calling on Member States to take action to protect civilians by imposing concrete consequences for repeated, deliberate indiscriminate killing of civilians.  

“We need to clear the skies”, Mutasem Alsyofi of the Syrian Civil Declaration Initiative said. “But we cannot afford to wait for the Syrian regime to voluntarily stop its deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals. The Syrian regime's killing will only be deterred through the credible threat of force. A nationwide no-bomb zone is feasible, will save hundreds of lives per week and will make the delivery of medical supplies less challenging.”    

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