London, 13 Dec – Reports of atrocities against large numbers of civilians, including women and children, in the Syrian city of Aleppo, have alarmed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his spokesman said Monday.Ban has asked his envoy Staffan de Mistura to follow up.
Yahoo News reports that, “While stressing that the United Nations is not able to independently verify these reports, the secretary-general is conveying his grave concern to the relevant parties,” said spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who added, “The United Nations underlines the obligation of all parties on the ground to protect civilians and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law. This is particularly the responsibility of the Syrian government and its allies.” He said this would most notably be Russia and Iran.
The Syrian army said its military operations are entering the final phase after months of heavy fighting. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, in the past 24 hours, some 10,000 Syrians have fled rebel areas, mostly to government-held territory.
The United Nations reported that hundreds of men had gone missing last week, after fleeing the battered city.
The fall of Aleppo leaves the government in control of the country’s five major cities. It will be the worst rebel defeat since Syria’s conflict began in 2011.
Since this conflict began in March 2011, more than 300,000 people have been killed and over half the population has been displaced. Millions have become refugees.
While Washington supported rebel forces battling the regime, Moscow launched an air war in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s last year.