Merkel criticizes Russia and Syrian government over humanitarian crisis in Aleppo
The head of the German government, Chancellor Angela Merkel, called the situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo ‘nightmarish.’ According to her, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia both must do more to relieve the suffering of the people in the besieged city.
Merkel said she was shocked by the scale of the humanitarian disaster in the Syrian city of Aleppo and sharply criticized al-Assad and Russia. "What is happening in Aleppo now is a nightmare, a humanitarian catastrophe. Calls for help coming from the few remaining doctors in Aleppo cause profound shock," Merkel said in an interview with Passauer Neue Presse, released on Tuesday, August 23rd.
Merkel asserted that Assad’s and his ally Russia’s offer of a daily, three-hour cease-fire was absolutely insufficient. "In consideration of the scale of people’s suffering, this is a cynicism. All international humanitarian organizations say that this time is not enough for providing the needy with everything essential. At least a 48-hour weekly truce is necessary, as required by the UN," Merkel stressed.
She also impressed that even this is "just the most minimal step, which Russia and Syrian leadership should provide."
A week ago, due to the catastrophic situation in Aleppo, Russia its expressed readiness to observe a weekly 48-hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian organizations to deliver aid into the devastated city.
For four years already, Aleppo has been divided into the western part, controlled by the Syrian army, and the rebel-held eastern part. About 250,000 people live in the blocks controlled by the rebels. Nearly 1.2 million people live in the sections under the control of the army. Syrian and Russian air strikes constantly bomb residential areas in the rebel-held districts of Aleppo.