By Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles
GENEVA – The United Nations said on Tuesday it had reports that Syrian government troops and allied Iraqi militias had killed civilians in eastern Aleppo, including 82 people in four different neighborhoods in the last few days.
The Syrian army and its allies have taken full control over all the Aleppo districts abandoned by rebels during their retreat in the city, a Syrian military source said on Tuesday.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, said he feared retribution against thousands of civilians believed to be holed up in a “hellish corner” of less than a square kilometer of opposition-held areas. Its capture was imminent, he said.
“In all, as of yesterday (Monday) evening we have received reports of pro-government forces killing least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, in 4 different neighborhoods – Bustan al-Qasr, al-Fardous, Al-Kalasah and al-Saliheen,” Colville told a news briefing, naming the Iraqi armed group Harakat al-Nujaba as reportedly involved in the killings.
“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes” Colville said. “There could be many more”.
“The only way to alleviate the deep foreboding and suspicion that massive crimes may be under way both within Aleppo, and in relation to some of those who fled or were captured, whether fighters or civilians, is for there to be monitoring by external bodies, such as the UN,” Colville said.
France on Tuesday called on the United Nations to use all its mechanisms to determine what was happening in Aleppo, warning Russia that it risked being complicit in acts of “vengeance and terror” taking place in the Syrian city.
Jens Laerke, U.N. humanitarian spokesman said that it looked like “a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo”.
aerke, U.N. humanitarian spokesman said that it looked like “a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo”.