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The risk of another Sarajevo

· UN denounces indiscriminate attacks in residential areas of Aleppo ·

In a report presented to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, 16 August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the “fight for territory and resources is being undertaken through indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, … killing hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children”. 

Sounding the alarm that an unprecedented “humanitarian catastrophe” is at risk in the Syrian city of Aleppo, he urged Russia and the United States to quickly reach a deal on a ceasefire in the city and elsewhere in the country. UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, announced on Thursday, 18 August, that the work of the humanitarian task force had been suspended due to the continuing conflicts which “obstruct the aid to civilians”. De Mistura indicated that a 48-hour cease-fire is necessary.

A third voice calling for Aid to Aleppo is UNICEF, the UN foundation for children. Ban Ki-moon reported that “too man children” have been killed by air strikes. At least 130,000 children live in this city, and are emblematic of what the Secretary-General defined as a potential human catastrophe. UNICEF spokesman Andrea Iacomini said it is necessary to do more for Aleppo, one of countless cities that have been “destroyed by our selfishness. Aleppo”, he said, “has become like Sarajevo, a city symbolic of human atrocity”.

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