A ceasefire in Aleppo was broken Wednesday in the eastern part of the opposition-held city less than 24 hours after being implemented, bringing evacuations to a screeching halt.
Some 50,000 people are said to have been in eastern Aleppo when the ceasefire broke, according to CNN.
Rebels and civilians were set to evacuate before the ceasefire’s collapse, but due to disagreements between Iran and Russia on the terms of the ceasefire, evacuations have been postponed to Thursday, ABC News reported.
“Iran and the government refused the agreement,” Brita Hagi Hassan, president of the city council for Aleppo, told ABC News. “After the wounded were ready to be evacuated, Iran and the government refused to get them out.”
“The agreement has been broken,” Mohammad Abu Rajab, a radiologist in eastern Aleppo, also told ABC News. “No one can even walk in the streets. Hundreds of rockets and shells fell on us. Please let us stay alive and out safely.”
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was stunned by the ceasefire’s collapse.
“While the reasons for the breakdown in the ceasefire are disrupted, the resumption of extremely heavy bombardment by the Syrian government forces and their allies on an area packed with civilians is almost certainly a violation of international law and most likely constitutes war crimes,” he said in a statement Wednesday, CNN reported.
Aref Al-Aref, a medic in Aleppo, was on the phone with CNN during the ceasefire.
“People were hopeful that they were leaving this hell,” he said. “But it was a false hope.”
“We are now worried about leaving the house,” Al-Aref added. “If the regime decides to launch an air raid, a massacre will take place right away. The area we are left in is too small.”
Activist Mahmoud Raslan said warplanes “began to strike” in a small part of eastern Aleppo “as if there’s no such thing as a ceasefire or evacuation of civilians,” USA Today noted.
“The demands of silence each time are aimed at only one thing: so that the militants take breath, reinforce themselves and get new weapons and ammunition,” said Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to USA Today.
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