The U.S. is concerned about reduced humanitarian access to Aleppo where Russia continues to strike in support of the Syrian government’s ground offensive, a U.S. military official said Wednesday.
“The situation in and around Aleppo has become, in our view, increasingly dire,” said Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition.
The destruction of the city’s two main hospitals from attacks by Russia and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad means “over 50,000 Syrians are now without any access to live-saving assistance,” according to Warren.
Tens of thousands of Syrians were still stranded Wednesday at the Oncupinar border crossing with Turkey, which remained closed.
A recent Russian airstrike also hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity and aid organization said Tuesday.
Assad launched an offensive against the country’s second largest city which held more than 3 million residents and forced nearly half-a-million civilians, mostly children and woman to flee to Turkey.
A UN report earlier this week charged the Syrian regime with "inhumane actions" against Syrian civilians on a scale that "amounts to extermination".
The UN has called for Russia to end its airstrikes ahead of fresh diplomatic efforts, including a 17-nation meeting Thursday in Munich, aimed at getting the troubled peace process back on track.
Moscow maintains that it intervened in Syria to fight Daesh but Warren contends that Daesh is “virtually nonexistent” in Aleppo.
“Russia can no longer credibly claim its airstrikes there are doing anything other than supporting regime forces, as they mount what the United Nations has called a systematic and widespread attack on civilians,” he added.
Warren also noted that Russia dropped more than 200 bombs in Syria last week at the same time peace talks were taking place in Geneva.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has recorded 506 deaths since the regime launched a major offensive against rebels in Aleppo province that began Feb. 1.
The victims include 23 children killed by Russian airstrikes, according to the British-based monitor that relies on a network of sources on the ground.
Turkey, already hosting 2.6 million Syrian refugees, has so far refused to allow a new wave into the country, choosing instead to provide humanitarian assistance across its border in Syria.