Number of Wounded Rises in Aleppo as Airstrikes Continue

Today's airstrikes were not as intense as in recent days, locals say.

ByABC News
September 27, 2016, 3:43 PM

— LONDON -- Airstrikes continued to hit eastern Aleppo today, although the attacks were not as intense as in previous days, according to activists and locals.

“A few minutes ago, two raids happened in the neighborhood. There are gases in the air from the attack,” Abu Rajab, a radiologist and managing director of a hospital in eastern Aleppo’s al-Sakhur neighborhood, told ABC News on a video call, while wearing a face mask. “I can see and smell the gases. You never know when it will happen, there’s no schedule. This is normal for us now. We see it every day.”

On Sunday, the hospital’s intensive care unit was so crowded that one surgeon had to conduct an operation on the floor, he said.

Hamza Khatib, a doctor at another hospital in the city, said a number of wounded were brought in for treatment after today's attacks, and three patients died from their injuries.

“Today and yesterday, the airstrikes were lighter than in the previous days,” Khatib told ABC News. “Yesterday, we received 36 dead.”

Airstrikes on Aleppo intensified after the Syrian military declared an offensive against eastern Aleppo on Sept. 22 – a few days after announcing that a U.S.-Russia-brokered ceasefire had ended. Since the announcement, three medical facilities in Aleppo supported by the Syrian American Medical Society have been struck, according to SAMS. Locals described attacks over the weekend as “unprecedented” in strength and quantity.

Today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 12 people were killed by airstrikes over several areas in the neighborhoods of al-Shaar and al-Mashhad in Aleppo. Many are wounded and missing and the number of dead is expected to rise. Rescue operations are still underway. Earlier today, the observatory reported that barrel bombs hit several other neighborhoods in Aleppo, leaving a number of civilians wounded. In the countryside, one man died following bombardments from the air.

In the past eight days alone, nearly 1,000 people have been killed in Aleppo, according to Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets, a group of unarmed, nonpartisan rescue workers in Syria, who pull people out from under destroyed buildings following airstrikes and bring them to safety. Speaking to the Atlantic Council today, he said that 1,700 airstrikes pounded Aleppo in the past eight days. Nineteen of these strikes involved bunker-buster bombs, which are used to target people sheltering underground, while cluster bombs were used in 200 of the strikes to maximize the number of injured and killed, he said.

From April 22 through Sept. 26, at least 25,472 people have been killed in Syria, according to the observatory. Among the killed were 6,920 civilians, including at least 1,341 children and 1,136 women. April 22 marked the day when another U.S-Russia truce ended in Syria.

At an emergency meeting Sunday, Western UN diplomats condemned the recent escalating violence in Aleppo and blamed Russia and the Syrian government. Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., accused Russia of committing barbarism under the guise of counter-terrorism.

“Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad make war. Instead of helping get lifesaving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive,” Powers told members of the Security Council Sunday.

She continued, “It seems the only items that make it into eastern Aleppo these days are barrel bombs and incendiaries that witnesses report seen dropped by Assad's forces and Russian forces. Russia, of course, has long had the power to stop this suffering. Even now, we will continue to look for any way possible to restore the cessation of hostilities.”

Powers, along with the French and U.K. ambassadors to the UN, walked out of the emergency session in protest when Syria’s ambassador was called to speak.

ABC News' Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.

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