A group of 15 medical doctors claiming to be the last doctors in the Syrian city of Aleppo, has written an open letter to President Barack Obama, criticizing him and his government for failing to bring an end to the suffering of the people of Syria in the country’s ongoing civil war.
Aleppo is located in Northern Syria. It serves as the capital of the Aleppo province, the most populous province in Syria. In 2011, before the country’s civil war, it was estimated that the area had a population of over 3 million people. Since the war began, the city has become one of the highly contested places for both Syrian government troops and rebel forces.
The city has been largely under the control of rebel forces, with government troops always fighting to push the rebels out of the city. In July 2016, the Syrian Army reportedly took full control of the city by the help of Russian airstrikes. However, rebel forces have since begun to push back into the city, making the situation very volatile for the civilian population in the city.
According to the doctors, they are specifically located in the eastern part of the city. They estimated that the population in the eastern part of Aleppo has reduced to 300,000. According to the doctors, many people have died from constant airstrikes by the Syrian government forces and shelling by rebels.
The doctors said although the United States claims to be actively helping in the country to end the war, the country has failed to use its huge influence to compel the belligerents in the war to protect civilians.
The Syrian government and Russia were also blamed by the concerned doctors for hitting civilian positions, causing mass suffering and devastation in the city.
“Continued United States inaction to protect the civilians of Syria means that our plight is being wilfully tolerated by those in the international corridors of power. The burden of responsibility for the crimes of the Syrian government and its Russian ally must therefore be shared by those, including the United States, who allow them to continue,” the doctors wrote to President Obama.
The doctors also talked about siege by government troops, and how food and medical supplies are not getting to the civilian population, due to constant fighting in the city. They said the Syrian government and Russia have been targeting civilian medical facilities, and that it is only a matter of time that the remaining 300,000 people in the eastern part of the city will be wiped out completely.
The doctors said: “Unless a permanent lifeline to Aleppo is opened it will be only a matter of time until we are again surrounded by regime troops, hunger takes hold and hospitals’ supplies run completely dry. Death has seemed increasingly inescapable. We do not need to tell you that the systematic targeting of hospitals by Syrian regime and Russian warplanes is a war crime. We do not need to tell you that they are committing atrocities in Aleppo.”
According to observers monitoring the situation in Syria, the Aleppo province has become the worst affected area in the war in the past few months. It is said Syrian government troops have been trying to push rebels back from the province. ISIS is fighting both rebels and government troops. Coalition forces claim to be fighting ISIS, supporting rebels. This circular fight among the warring factions has resulted in complete chaos and confusion in the province, making civilians in the area bearing the brunt of the war.
There is documented evidence to prove that United States, the Syrian government and Russian airstrikes have killed civilians.
Media estimate the death toll, since the war began in 2011, can be put at 280,000. However, recently the United Nations special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura estimated that the actual death toll could be as high as 400,000. More than half of the country’s 22 million people have been forced out of their homes.
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