As the battle for Aleppo in Syria reaches its most critical point, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is outraged at the violence directed against civilians and the passivity displayed by all those that can do something to stop it. MSF calls on all warring parties to abide by their obligation to protect civilians in both the besieged areas and in areas newly taken over by the Syrian government.
All negotiations to secure access by the UN and other actors, including MSF, in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the besieged areas of east Aleppo have been unsuccessful. It has been impossible to evacuate patients, resupply hospitals and provide much-needed assistance to those trapped in the area. All parties concerned were and are responsible for this failure.
A few medical staff members are still working under extreme conditions in east Aleppo. They express deep fears for their immediate future. Medical staff and the patients they care for are protected under International Humanitarian Law.
In a conflict that has a horrendous record of atrocities against civilians, and echoing the latest UN statement, MSF is extremely worried about the fate of the population.
“This is one of the worst crises MSF has witnessed in years,” said Teresa Sancristoval, head of MSF’s emergency unit for Aleppo. “We remind all sides that even war has rules. It is paramount that all parties allow people to flee to safety, allow the evacuation of sick and wounded, and facilitate the provision of protection and humanitarian assistance to those that are caught on the front lines.”