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Aleppo

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Aleppo is today under siege as remaining rebels clash with government and Russian forces in the eastern part of the city.

Witnessing the catastrophic scenes around them are ordinary Syrians – men, women, and children who are trapped and increasingly desperate as their options run out.

Some of those seemingly caught up in the violence have been posting chilling words online, sharing ‘final’ messages with a world they feel has abandoned them.

While the authenticity of the posts cannot be verified independently – the sentiment is nevertheless harrowing. Indeed, as one commentator on Twitter stated: "I don't know if the account is real or not but the suffering of the civilians of Aleppo is real."

And international humanitarian groups are already describing recent events as a “complete meltdown of humanity”.

As the bloody four-year long battle comes to an end, Russian state media is reporting that the rebels are cornered into an area of less than 5sq km.

The UN says that some 80 people have been executed by pro-government fighters in their homes and on the streets – adding that at least 13 of the dead are children.

"In these hours, it looks like a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo," the UN’s Rupert Colville commented today.

Citing a doctor on the ground, Unicef has also said that around 100 children “unaccompanied or separated from their families,” are trapped in a building under heavy attack.

"It is time for the world to stand up for the children of Aleppo and bring their living nightmare to an end," a spokesman for the organisation stated.

An emergency debate in the UK parliament today heard that humanitarian help is needed immediately to save lives and help those stranded in the city.

"Every hour, butcheries are carried out," the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights has furthermore claimed – as cited by CNN. The same news organisation has described the city as “a wasteland of carnage and rubble”.

The Syrian government has yet to comment on the killings in state-run media.

Conflict in Aleppo began in 2012 in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Springs unrest.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has from last year been supported by Russia; rebel forces are propped up by Turkey.

Initially, world powers including the US, France, and Britain publicly backed the anti-government fighters, but the rise of Isil in the region and the rebels’ increasingly pro-Islamic tendencies eventually dissolved this support. 

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*Some users may find this distressing.

Recent reports emerging from Syria have begun to capture the heartbreaking everyday struggles of the besieged people of Aleppo.

And certainly one video in particular has proved nothing short of devastating. 

Taken in the aftermath of an air-raid on the city, it shows two bloodied and clearly traumatised toddlers being treated by medics. 

One of the children is desperately clinging to the nurse who is treating him, refusing to let go. 

The haunting moment was shared via the Washington DC-based humanitarian organisation, Sams.

Since the summer, the Syrian government has been trying to recapture the city's eastern half, a stronghold for rebels. 

Controversially, brutal Russian air strikes have more recently been targeting these areas.

Yesterday, the UN's Stephen O'Brien said of the crisis: "Indiscriminate bombing and shelling continues in a shocking and unrelenting manner, killing and maiming civilians, subjecting them to a level of savagery that no human should have to endure."

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From Alun Kurdi, who drowned while fleeing his homeland, to Omran Daqneesh ,whose bloodied face stared out at us from the front pages of international newspapers, the plight of Syria’s children has, time and again, left millions desperately seeking answers.

And, according to UNICEF, which promotes the rights and well-being of children, the situation is getting drastically worse with every passing day.

Since just last Friday, 96 children have been killed in Eastern Aleppo while 223 have been injured.

“The children of Aleppo are trapped in a living nightmare,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth. “There are no words left to describe the suffering they are experiencing.”

And with just 30 doctors left and a severe lack of medical equipment and emergency medicine, officials fear for the lives of the children left.

Commenting on the bloodshed he sees on a daily basis, a doctor on the ground insisted: “Nothing can justify such assaults on children and such total disregard for human life.”

“The suffering – and the shock among children – is definitely the worst we have seen,” he added.

Along with their partners, UNICEF works across 190 countries and focuses special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children in the world.

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