Aleppo Cemeteries Run Out of Room for the Dead

ALEPPO, SYRIA - JULY 06 : Muslims visit their relatives tombs at martyrdom after they performed Eid al-Fitr mass prayer during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Atarib District of Aleppo, Syria on July 06, 2016. Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world that marks the …
Ahmed Hasan Ubeyd/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A grim milestone in the siege of Aleppo is reported by Sky News, which writes that “bodies are being left to rot on the streets or buried in backyards” because “there is no room left in the cemeteries.”

“Officials said a graveyard opened last year was already full while the old cemetery had reached capacity even before the bloody civil war began four years ago,” Sky News reports.

Medical officials said it was too dangerous to dig graves in the war-torn area, and rescue vehicles cannot reach the wounded because the rescuers have been targeted for attack or are running low on fuel. Airstrikes have destroyed all the medical facilities in Aleppo.

“We have no more room. I have 20 to 25 bodies from different parts of Aleppo that we don’t know where to bury. Even if I were to consider mass burials, I don’t have the machines to do the digging,” said local forensics chief Mohammed Abu Jaafar.

On Monday, Russia and China vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo. It was the sixth time Russia has blocked such a measure and the fifth time for China.

Russia has instead pushed for an agreement that would require all rebel fighters to withdraw from eastern Aleppo, an arrangement the rebels have rejected. The U.S. on Monday accused Russia of falsely claiming the United States was close to agreeing to Russia’s proposal.

“We will not let Russia string along the Security Council. We will continue bilateral negotiations to relieve the suffering in Aleppo, but we have not reached a breakthrough because Russia wants to keep its military gains,” said deputy U.S. envoy Michele Sison.

A 7-year-old girl named Bana al-Abed who has been tweeting from Aleppo suddenly went offline on Sunday night, raising concerns about her safety. Her account was subsequently restored, but her last message from Monday morning remains: “Under attack. Nowhere to go, every minute feels like death. Pray for us. Goodbye.”


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