Syria’s Aleppo running low on food amid siege
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
BEIRUT (AP) — Food and cooking gas were in short supply and power cuts plunged homes into darkness as soldiers and rebels battled Tuesday to tip the scales in the fight for Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and the current focus of its civil war.
Life for Aleppo’s 3 million residents was becoming increasingly unbearable as a military siege entered its 11th day. While rebels seized two police stations, Syrian ground forces pummeled the opposition strongholds of Salaheddine and Seif al-Dawla in the city’s southwest, activists said. Government helicopters also pounded those neighborhoods.
“The regime couldn’t enter the neighborhoods so they were shelling from a distance with helicopters and artillery,” said Mohammed Nabehan, who fled Aleppo for the Kilis refugee camp just across the Turkish border some 30 miles away.
Nabehan and others said it was a struggle to find food.
“The humanitarian situation here is very bad,” Mohammed Saeed, an activist living in the city, told the Associated Press by Skype. “There is not enough food and people are trying to leave. We really need support from the outside. There is random shelling against civilians,” he added. “The city has pretty much run out of cooking gas, so people are cooking on open flames or with electricity, which cuts out a lot.”
Days of shelling have forced many civilians to flee to other neighborhoods or even escape the city altogether. The U.N. said Sunday that 200,000 had left Aleppo.
As the bloodshed mounted, the Arab League chief accused President Bashar Assad’s regime of atrocities.
“The massacres that are happening in Aleppo and other places in Syria amount to war crimes that are punishable under international law,” Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said in Cairo.