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Christian Aid partner in Aleppo delivers 'message to the world' on massacre unfolding in the besieged city

13 December 2016 - NGOs operating in the besieged city of Aleppo, including a partner organisation of Christian Aid, have released a ‘message to the world’ about the unfolding massacre taking place.

It comes on the same day that the UN has reported that civilians are being ‘shot on the spot’ by Syrian pro-government forces entering homes in eastern Aleppo.

Yesterday a staff member working for Christian Aid’s partner in Aleppo was killed during continuous shelling, which is taking place across previously rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

The civil society organisations said in their statement: “In effect, the regime is besieging around 50,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo and is practicing forms of systematic violence such as the use of bunker buster bombs and summary executions without discrimination between women, men and children.”

The group has declared that it is suspending its humanitarian operations in what it describes as an “outcry against the international community’s complicity in the massacre” taking place.

Máiréad Collins, Advocacy and Programme Officer for Syria at Christian Aid, said: “What we are witnessing in Aleppo right now is horrifying. We are seeing the massacre of innocent men, women and children in their homes and on the streets, while the world watches in a state of paralysis.

“We are witnessing the unravelling of humanity before our eyes. People are posting their final goodbyes on social media, expecting that they will now be killed by regime forces. This is unbearable.

“Christian Aid, like thousands of other NGOs and civil society organisations, call again for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian access to civilians in besieged areas.”

Christian Aid is calling for the UK government to significantly step up its diplomatic engagement on Syria to hasten a political process for ending the nearly six-year long conflict, and prevent the deaths of even more civilians.

There is currently no access in or out of eastern Aleppo, and reports confirm that there is no food, water, medical facilities or staff. Yesterday civilians sought sanctuary in a community centre of Christian Aid’s partner in Aleppo which lacks any access to water, food and blankets in a city which is facing sub-zero temperatures.

Christian Aid is working through trusted local organisations in Syria, and in Lebanon and Iraq, to provide vital assistance to thousands of families displaced by the crisis. The charity is supporting especially vulnerable refugees, such as women and people with disabilities, to access much needed services.

To find out more, or to donate, visit the Christian Aid Syria Appeal webpage: www.christianaid.org.uk/syria.

Christian Aid’s Advocacy and Programme Officer for Syria, Máiréad Collins, is available for interview. To arrange please contact Amy Merone on amerone@christian-aid.org & the 24-hour press duty phone – 07850 242 950  

The statement in full:

A message to the world from our partner in Aleppo

"In response to the atrocities committed by the regime against our people in Aleppo, and in Syria generally, we – Syrian civil society organisations – declare that we are suspending our operations in an outcry against the international community’s complicity in this massacre. This suspension will only be revoked if concrete and meaningful measures are taken to stop the regime violence, ensure protection of civilians, and facilitate their safe and dignified evacuation.

"In effect, the regime is besieging around 50,000 civilians in Eastern Aleppo and is practicing forms of systematic violence such as the use of bunker buster bombs and summary executions, without discrimination between women, men and children."  

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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