Aleppo conditions worsen under siege

The Wall Street Journal reports: The Syrian regime and its Russian allies are heavily bombarding hospitals, markets, utilities and aid warehouses in the besieged, rebel-controlled half of Aleppo, according to opposition officials and aid workers who said it was a concerted effort to force rebels and residents to surrender quickly.

The regime succeeded last month in encircling and cutting off the rebel-held eastern side of Aleppo after more than two years of attempts. The bombardment of infrastructure since has led to deteriorating humanitarian conditions for an estimated 300,000 people under siege, the officials and aid workers said.

Food supplies in the city are expected to last for only a few more weeks, according to the United Nations and aid agencies.

“What is happening is to break the will of the opposition,” said Muhammad al-Zein, an administrator with the medical council overseeing hospitals in the rebel-held part of Aleppo. “The warplanes are not striking the headquarters of [rebel] factions. They are targeting the infrastructure in order to create a feeling of defeat and surrender.”

Russian warplanes don’t strike civilian targets, said Lt. Gen. Sergei Rutskoi, a top general overseeing Russian operations in Syria. He said seven channels had been opened up around Aleppo to allow people to flee, and added that Russian soldiers have delivered food products and medical supplies.

Opposition officials and local aid workers said no humanitarian corridors have been opened to allow civilians to leave the rebel-held portion of Aleppo. On Sunday, in an attempt to break the siege, rebel factions launched an offensive against regime forces along the southern edge of the city, and some people burned tires that filled the sky with black smoke in an attempt to prevent regime and Russian aircraft from bombing the rebels. [Continue reading…]

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