Today, the top United Nations human rights official declared that the targeting of eastern Aleppo in Syria constituted war crimes rarely seen before. "The violations and abuses suffered by people across the country, including the siege and bombardment of eastern Aleppo, are simply not tragedies; they also constitute crimes of historic proportions," Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Although we've all heard of the horrors of the Syrian war where President Bashar al-Assad with the help of Russia is fighting rebel groups, we rarely catch a glimpse of the war's striking complexity. Reporting for French newspaper Le Figaro, Georges Malbrunot, offers us a rare on-the-ground view of what's happening in Aleppo, in an article that will be published tomorrow in English on Worldcrunch.
Malbrunot visits the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, which divides government-controlled western Aleppo from the eastern part of the city held by rebels, and describes stark differences between the two sides. "In Bustan al-Qasr, the only things the two sides exchange are hostages and dead bodies. On the regime-controlled side, people are still alive as reflected by the clothes drying on balconies. On the rebel side, which holds the Citadel of Aleppo, the few humanitarian volunteers who have been able to enter the area share stories of a lifeless scenery dotted with snipers watching from what's left of local homes," the journalist notes.
"Civilians in eastern Aleppo are paying the heaviest price for Russian airstrikes. More than 350 people have been killed over the past month," Malbrunot writes, adding that a rebel killed a 15-year-old girl in Bustan al-Qasr just hours before he got there. Even as defenders of human rights make strongly-worded speeches in Switzerland, this report is a reminder that a war is claiming lives by the hour in Syria.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)
- After lashing Philippines, Typhoon Haima heads toward southern China.
- Lady Gaga drops her fifth studio album, Joanne.
- Bill Murray to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (Sunday).