UN “Appalled” by Militant Onslaught on Aleppo

UN “Appalled” by Militant Onslaught on AleppoUN “Appalled” by Militant Onslaught on Aleppo

The UN has warned that the Syrian offensive by militants into government-held districts of Aleppo could amount to war crimes. The comments have come after state media reported of insurgent forces firing shells of toxic gas.

Militant forces on Sunday continued a vicious campaign in Aleppo, unleashing car bombs and a barrage of rockets into government-held areas. Some 41 civilians, including 16 children, have died and another 250 wounded in the fighting, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, AP reported.

The office for Syria’s UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura said it was “appalled and shocked by the high number of rockets” fired by the insurgents during the first three days of the offensive.

“Those who argue that this is meant to relieve the siege of eastern Aleppo should be reminded that nothing justifies the use of disproportionate and indiscriminate weapons, including heavy ones, on civilian areas and it could amount to war crimes,” de Mistura’s office said in a statement.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that 35 people were suffering from shortness of breath, numbness and muscle spasms due to “toxic gases” being fired on the frontline in Dahiyet al-Assad and into the regime-stronghold of Hamdaniyeh.

Ibrahim Hadid, the head of Aleppo University Hospital, told state-run television that “36 people, including civilians and combatants, were wounded after inhaling toxic chlorine gas released by terrorists”.

SOHR Director Rami Abdurrahman confirmed reports that civilians were suffering from breathing difficulties, although he could not verify whether this was due to toxin gases.

A militant spokesman dismissed the claims, saying the opposition did not possess such weapons and would not attack areas where its own supporters are based.

Insurgent forces aim to breach a government siege on Aleppo’s militant-held districts in the east of the besieged city and push government troops from the frontline. Sunday’s intensive fighting rocked Aleppo’s western districts, while airstrikes and artillery fire were heard from the city’s eastern districts, according to AFP correspondents.

An anonymous military source said the government is reinforcing its positions in and around the city to repel militant advancements.

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