Published on 13 Dec 2016 Sections

Inside Aleppo: latest from sources in the city

Sources say some 110 medical staff remained in eastern Aleppo’s last remaining hospital as of midnight last night.

A number of sources are giving corroborating details to Channel 4 News of what appears to be a deliberate strategy by the Russians to block the evacuation of medical staff from what remains of eastern Aleppo, amid multiple reports of summary executions of civilians in the shattered streets.

Smoke billows from the former rebel-held district of Bustan al-Qasr in Aleppo, on December 12, 2016, during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake the embattled city. The crucial battle for Aleppo entered its "final phase" after Syrian rebels retreated into a small pocket of their former bastion in the face of new army advances. The retreat leaves opposition fighters confined to just a handful of neighbourhoods in southeast Aleppo, the largest of them Sukkari and Mashhad. / AFP / KARAM AL-MASRI (Photo credit should read KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sources at a meeting last night between rebels on the one side and the regime and Russians on the other which was attempting to negotiate the evacuation of rebel fighters, civilians and activists – a term which encompasses all medical workers – said the Russians blocked all attempts to allow the evacuation of activists and civilians whilst indicating that the free passage of the fighters would be allowed.

It follows months of multiple strikes on hospitals within eastern Aleppo from the air and artillery which have been seen as deliberate targeting in order to take out the precious medical facilities which are key to keeping civilian populations in rebel-held areas.

The Russians blocked all attempts to allow the evacuation of activists and civilians

Sources say some 110 medical staff remained in eastern Aleppo’s last remaining hospital as of midnight last night, with at least 300 critically injured patients, at least 500 children and scores of families also attempting to take shelter there.

As of this morning, communications with eastern Aleppo seem to be intermittent and with no independent verification on the ground possible with access denied to the UN and all independent humanitarian workers it is impossible to gain a better picture.