The U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday it has received reports of Syria’s pro-regime forces and allied Iraqi militias killing at least 82 civilians in eastern Aleppo in four different neighborhoods in the last few days.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, says the reports recount pro-regime forces entering homes and killing some civilians “on the spot” in the former rebel enclave.
He said he feared retribution against thousands of civilians believed to be holed up in a “hellish corner” of less than a square kilometer of opposition-held areas. Its capture was imminent, he said.
“In all, as of yesterday (Monday) evening we have received reports of pro-government forces killing least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, in 4 different neighborhoods – Bustan al-Qasr, al-Fardous, Al-Kalasah and al-Saliheen,” Colville told a news briefing, naming the Iraqi armed group Harakat al-Nujaba as reportedly involved in the killings.
“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes” Colville said. “There could be many more”.
“The only way to alleviate the deep foreboding and suspicion that massive crimes may be under way both within Aleppo, and in relation to some of those who fled or were captured, whether fighters or civilians, is for there to be monitoring by external bodies, such as the U.N.,” Colville said.
Colville says the reports came in late the previous evening and that he doesn’t know exactly when the killings took place.
France on Tuesday called on the United Nations to use all its mechanisms to determine what was happening in Aleppo, warning Russia that it risked being complicit in acts of “vengeance and terror” taking place in the Syrian city.
Jens Laerke, U.N. humanitarian spokesman said that it looked like “a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo”.