The recent ceasefire in Aleppo lasted less than a week. After a U.S. airstrike unintentionally killed 62 Syrian soldiers, relations broke down between the U.S. and Russia, the two countries negotiating the cease-fire. Syrian forces responded by launching a new offensive with hundreds of airstrikes on rebel-occupied parts of the city. In retaliation, rebel forces resumed their efforts to retake the northern part of the city, which the government forces lost earlier in the year.
Although the ceasefire brought an opportunity for humanitarian aid to the city’s inhabitants, conditions in Aleppo are now worse than ever. The city’s two biggest hospitals were both targeted by airstrikes, leaving only six overwhelmed hospitals. The 29 doctors in Aleppo must treat hundreds of injuries each day as a result of the thousands of airstrikes directed at civilians. Many of the injured cannot be treated. A surgeon who advises doctors in Aleppo commented, “We have to triage patients. We have to judge if their situations are hopeless. If they are, it is the hardest thing.” Patients with head injuries are not given any consideration at all.
Citizens cannot leave Aleppo. 250,000 civilians remain in a city with food and water shortages. These citizens mostly consist of the poor, who are unable to pay for transportation to leave the warzone. The charity “Save The Children” estimated that forty percent of those left in the city are children.
Hope for another cease-fire appears bleak. Representatives from all sides of the conflict have expressed animosity at the current situation. Russia’s UN representative said of the U.S.’s killing of Syrian soldiers, “I have never seen such an extraordinary display of American heavy-handedness,” with the U.S.’s UN representative retaliating calling Russia’s blame “a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding… uniquely cynical and hypocritical.” Opposing sides in the war have lost any hope for respite in Aleppo. Mouaffaq Nyrabia, Vice President of the Syrian opposition group, stated that a political solution was “no longer viable” after the recent violence. Similarly, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad commented, “I believe that the United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria.”