Girls in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report

Activists and rebels in the besieged city say mass executions have begun and children are burned alive as Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces-out move in.”>

Editor’s Note: This tale has been updated throughout.

Troops loyal to Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad and foreign militias under Iranian command swept into eastern Aleppo on Monday, recapturing nearly all of the citys opposition-held regions and seizing the citadel of the Syrian revolution.

The triumphal takeover followed a day of intense bombing of houses and apartment building, destroying so many that it was impossible to ascertain the death toll. The neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Kallasa, al-Farod and al-Salhin in the Old City, as well as Sheikh Saed, in the southern district, are all now under regime control.


The U.N. had received credible reports of scores of civilians being killed either by intense bombardment or summary executions by pro-government forces. Zeid Raad al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement.

Dozens of bodies reportedly litter the street of a number of east Aleppo neighborhoods, with residents unable to retrieve them due to the intense bombardment and anxiety of being shot, Hussein said. He added that the U.N. had reports that at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children in four neighborhoods Bustan al-Qasr, al-Ferdous and al-Kallaseh and al-Saleheen.

Decrying the crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably frightening toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton carnage of men, women and children, the destruction, the Jordanian-born U.N. officer cautioned, We are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict.

What can happen next, if the international community continues to collectively wring its hands can be much more dangerous.” Hussein said the slaughter in Aleppo could repeat itself in Douma, Raqqa and Idlib, referring to other opposition-held areas in the war-ravaged country.

We cannot let this continue.

The White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, described Aleppo as being like hell. The streets and destroyed builds are full of dead bodies, said a tweet by one of its volunteers. The rescue service was reported to be totally paralyzed by the assault.

The head of the groups Aleppo branch, Ammar al-Salmo, said on Al Jazeera television that many old men succumbed of the cold weather in eastern Aleppo.

More than 100 unaccompanied children were reported to be trapped in a house under heavy bombardment in eastern Aleppo, according to UNICEF, the U.N. agency responsible for child welfare said, quoting an unnamed physician in the city, Reuters reported.

The head of the Aleppo local coordinating committee told regime forces had captured the remaining food supplies in eastern Aleppo and there are no functioning bakeries and no bread, the Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.

Syrian army spokesman Brig. Gen. Samir Suleiman countered that the U.N. was lying.

“These are false asserts. The Arab Syrian army can never do this and we have never done it in our army’s history.” Yesterday, the official Syrian news agency SANA instead lay held accountable for inhumanities in Aleppo on the rebels, alleging that eight people were killed and 47 were injured in regime-held areas after the opponent bombed them. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the agency.

Abdullah Othman, the head of the Consultative Council in the Levant Front, one of the largest rebel groupings of Aleppo, said this morning that the opposition was still in possession of six neighborhoods, including Salaheddine, once the sight of some of the fiercest urban combat the Syrian civil war had witnessed.

“Last night we were able to reinforce our new defense lines and to build some detonation walls on the new perimeters, ” Othman told The Daily Beast today, speaking from the border township of Azaz. “Today the regime forces-out tried to sweep through our new defense lines but they havent been able to do so yet. But the problem is the barbaric, unprecedented bombardment and shelling that you cant even imagine.”

Civilians are reportedly crammed into whatever builds still remain in the tiny quarters yet to be recaptured by the Assadists, but many were left outside in the streets, owing to lack of space. It is here, in broad daylight, Othman said, that men, women and children were being cooked alive by barrel bombs dropped right where they stood.

And those who survive the air raid could not be helped. “Women and children their hollers can be heard underneath the rubble. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to get them out. Everyone is panicking. There is great fear. Everyone can only think of himself , not about others.”

Yesterday, some residents who couldnt take the bombardment anymore fled toward regime controlled areas, according to Othman.

“Seventy-nine of them were executed at the barricades. The remainder everyone under 40 were taken to warehouses that seem more like internment camp. They face an unknown fate, ” he said.

“This morning 20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.”

The last hope of the besieged rebels, most of whom seem to have withdrawn in the face of certain defeat, had been to receive reinforcements or resupplies from their counterparts in the southern and western suburbiums. That alternative has now been foreclosed upon as these routes are altogether interdicted by the regime.

Enab Baladi, a Syrian opposition news channel, said regime artillery attacked the six neighborhoods remaining in rebel hands with 40 shells and its ground forces mostly Shiite militias under Iranian command are assaulting from four directions.

***

Activists and residents of the ever-dwindling opposition pocket, an urban islet of about five square kilometers and home to as many as 100,000 people, spent the last 24 hours signing off from social media, asking journalists to tell their narrative, and warning of their impending demise.

The Daily Beast was able to get in touch with Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo, a university educator in the besieged city, on Monday evening. The brief conversation was as follows 😛 TAGEND

TDB: I hope youre safe.

AA: I dont suppose I will be tomorrow.

TDB: Do you expect all the remaining besieged neighborhoods will fall by tomorrow?

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