“I am one of the women in Aleppo who will soon be raped in just moments. There are no more weapons or men that can stand between us and the animals who are about to come called the ‘country’s army.’ “I am committing suicide and I don’t care if you say I am in Hell-Fire”. A note from a nurse in Aleppo reads.
As Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s army regains control of Aleppo after opposition forces agreed to withdraw from the war-torn city, several shocking stories of human rights abuses are being reported and investigated by the U.N.
BBC News reports that although a deal was struck on Tuesday mediated by Russia and Turkey for a ceasefire in Aleppo to allow civilians to be evacuated in the midst of the five-year civil war, heavy shelling and fighting prevented many from fleeing.
“Many of these terrified civilians trapped in this hell hole, which now resembles Stalingrad at the end of its destruction, are children,” former U.K. Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell said, according to The Mirror.
“They have few places to hide.”
News agencies such as Aleppo24 have reported on stories of children being burned alive in violent clashes as rebels agreed to withdraw from Aleppo. The U.N. is reportedly now investigating accusations that the Syrian army executed as many as 82 civilians on the spot as they entered the city.
“We’re filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“Yesterday evening, we received further deeply disturbing reports that numerous bodies were lying on the streets,” he added. “The residents were unable to retrieve them due to the intense bombardment and their fear of being shot on sight.”
Sections of Aleppo had been held by rebels since 2012, but this week the government’s army has been making significant gains in recapturing the city.
A letter from a nurse trapped in Aleppo reveals that she decided to take her own life rather than face rape at the hands of what she called “Syrian army animals.”
“I am one of the women in Aleppo who will soon be raped in just moments. There are no more weapons or men that can stand between us and the animals who are about to come called the ‘country’s army.’
“I don’t want anything from you. I don’t even want your supplication, as I am still able to speak I think my supplication is going to be more truthful than what you say!” the woman wrote in part of her message, translated into English and shared by aid worker Abdullateef Khaled.
“I am committing suicide and I don’t care if you say I am in Hell-Fire,” the nurse wrote in her suicide note.
“I am committing suicide because I did not remain firm in my deceased father’s home for all these years because his heart burned when he saw all those who left Aleppo.”
Reports and accounts continue to be shared across social media of people trapped in Aleppo who are witnessing civilians being shot dead in the crossfire, with neither women nor children spared.
The International Committee of the Red Cross added that tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in the city and “have literally nowhere safe to run.”
“We urge the parties to consider the fate of civilians trapped by the ongoing fighting and do their utmost to spare and protect them,” the ICRC said. “This may be the last chance to save lives.”
As many as 250,000 civilians were thought to be left in the eastern section of Aleppo before the army’s advance, according to Reuters.
Accusations keep flying in from both sides, with the Syrian army denying it has carried out killings or torture of civilians, while Russia, which is backing Assad’s regime, has claimed that rebels “kept over 100,000 people in east Aleppo as human shields.”
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned what he called the “atrocities against a large number of civilians, including women and children.”