GENEVA (Reuters, AFP) - The fighting in Syria's besieged enclave of eastern Aleppo has killed 338 people in the past few weeks, including 106 children, while 846 have been injured, including 261 children, a senior World Health Organisation official said on Friday (Sept 30).
"We are asking for four things: stop the killing, stop attacks on health care, let the sick and wounded out and let the aid in," WHO's head of emergency risk management and humanitarian response told a UN briefing in Geneva.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also appealed to the Syrian government and its Russian ally to stop bombing rebel-held eastern Aleppo, warning they were provoking a "bloodbath" among civilians in the city.
"Bombs are raining from Syria-led coalition planes and the whole of east Aleppo has become a giant kill box," MSF director of operations Xisco Villalonga said in a statement.
"The Syrian government must stop the indiscriminate bombing, and Russia as an indispensable political and military ally of Syria has the responsibility to exert the pressure to stop this," he said.
The United Nations has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo unlike any witnessed so far in Syria's brutal five-year war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.
According to the UN, only around 35 doctors remain in eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 250,000 people have been under siege by government forces since early September.
The MSF statement cited numbers from the east Aleppo health directorate, showing that from Sept 21 to 26, the few hospitals still functioning in the rebel-held part of the city received some 278 dead bodies, including at least 96 children.
More than 822 wounded were also taken in, including at least 221 children, it said.
"All intensive care units are full. Patients have to wait for others to die so they can be moved to an available bed in intensive care," Abu Waseem, manager of an MSF-supported trauma hospital in east Aleppo, warned in the statement.
"We only have three operating theatres and yesterday alone we had to do more than 20 major abdominal surgeries," he said, pointing out that "hospital staff is working up to 20 hours a day. They cannot just go home and let people die."
MSF said it had last been able to deliver medical supplies to east Aleppo in August, and warned that the huge number of wounded was rapidly depleting the stocks in the remaining hospitals.
"Now, with a complete siege on the city, attacks on humanitarian convoys and intensive bombing, we are powerless," Villalonga said, warning that "if this intensity of bombing continues, there may not be a single hospital standing in a few days."
He demanded that the bombing stop, and that the sick and wounded be evacuated from the city.
"Anything short of this is confirmation of what many are dreading, that the world has abandoned the people of Aleppo to a violent, agonising death," he said.