Aleppo cease-fire reached after reports of civilian slaughter

Aleppo cease-fire reached after reports of civilian slaughter

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UN Human Rights Office reports “slaughter” in Aleppo: At least 82 civilians killed by pro-government forces

After years of fighting, killing and months of bitter siege and bombardment, siege in Syria’s Aleppo ended on Tuesday with civilian deaths, including women and children, and reports of bodies in the streets

Syrian rebels say an agreement has been reached with Russia for a cease-fire in Aleppo to evacuate remaining civilians and rebels from besieged districts.

Civilians and opposition fighters will start evacuating east Aleppo “within hours” under a deal with Syria’s regime, a rebel official said Tuesday, as global outrage mounted over reports of atrocities.

asser Youssef, a spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel group, confirmed the cease-fire and said the goal was to evacuate civilians and rebels from besieged areas.

Osama Abu Zayd, a legal advisor for an umbrella group of rebel factions known as the Free Syrian Army, said the cease-fire went into effect Tuesday evening.

“My latest information is that they indeed have an arrangement achieved on the ground that the fighters are going to leave the city,” Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters. It could happen “within hours maybe”, he said.

Aleppo Media Center (AMC) posted to its Facebook page Tuesday that a ceasefire had announced in Aleppo “in preparation for the evacuation of civilians from besieged areas through safe passages.” AMC said, “Within hours, civilians and military factions will be evacuated from the besieged city to Aleppo’s northern and western countryside.”

Free Syrian Army fighters fire an anti-aircraft weapon in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria. Photo: REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Free Syrian Army fighters fire an anti-aircraft weapon in a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria. Photo: REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government or Russia on the reports.

A surrender or withdrawal of the rebels from Aleppo would mean the end of the rebellion in the city, Syria’s largest until the outbreak of war after mass protests in 2011.

However, the war is far from over.

“The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction – and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement.

Meltdown of Humanity in Aleppo

As pro-government forces invade the neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo, Syria, reports of civilian bloodshed have reached the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Office announced Tuesday that more than 80 civilians have been killed in the region “either by intense bombardment or summary execution” by pro-government forces.

Multiple sources have reported that pro-Government forces killed at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, in the Bustan al-Qasr, al-Ferdous, al-Kallaseh, and al-Saleheen neighborhoods yesterday,” the UN Human Rights Office reported.

“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes,” said U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville. “There could be many more.”

The U.N.’s children’s agency warned that dozens of unaccompanied children were trapped in a building under fire in eastern Aleppo and called for their immediate evacuation from the rebel enclave.

The agency said in a statement on Tuesday that there could be more than 100 children trapped in the building.

UNICEF regional director Geert Cappelaere said it’s “time for the world to stand up for the children of Aleppo and bring their living nightmare to an end.”

Cappelaere says that UNICEF is “deeply concerned” over the unverified reports of the “extrajudicial killings of civilians, including children.”

Syrian residents fleeing violence in the restive Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood. Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Syrian residents fleeing violence in the restive Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood. Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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