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Syria: Russian offensive claims 3,800 civilians' lives as country hurtles towards medical doomsday

Syrian civilians and rescuers gather at site of government forces air strikes in the rebel held neighbourhood of Al-Shaar in Aleppo on September 27, 2016 Photograph: (AFP)

Aleppo, Aleppo Governorate, Syria Sep 30, 2016, 10.58 AM (IST)

Russia-backed Syrian forces' aerial strikes have killed 9,300 people, including 3,800 civilians, in the last one year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitoring group had initially pegged the death toll at 10,000 but later revised it to 9,300.

The rest of the dead were fighters affiliated to Islamic State and various rebel factions. More than 2,700 jihadists belonged to IS and about 2,800 fighters were from US-backed rebel groups.

The monitoring group said at least 20,000 civilians were wounded in the Russia-backed onslaught. 

The death toll could be higher as people might have died in air strikes by unidentified warplanes, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Medical crisis

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have asked the Syrian forces to stop the heavy bombardment on eastern Aleppo, a territory held by the US-supported rebel groups.

"Bombs are raining from Syria-led coalition planes and the whole of east Aleppo has become a giant kill box," MSF director of operations Xisco Villalonga said.

The crisis has worsened in Aleppo after two hospitals were bombed by the Syrian forces, leaving just six hospitals functional in the city.

The UN has said only 35 doctors remain in the area despite an estimated 250,000 civilians holed up there since early September.

The MNF said the functional hospitals in eastern Aleppo received 278 dead bodies, including 86 bodies of children, between September 21 and 26. 

An estimated 822 people were wounded in the six-day period, which saw a wave of air strikes conducted by the Syrian forces.

World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that 338 people, including 106 children, have been killed in east Aleppo since September 23.

"All intensive care units are full. Patients have to wait for others to die so they can be moved to an available bed in intensive care," Abu Waseem, manager of an MSF-supported trauma hospital in east Aleppo, warned.

"We only have three operating theatres and yesterday alone we had to do more than 20 major abdominal surgeries," he said, adding the hospital staff is working up to 20 hours a day.

"Anything short of this is confirmation of what many are dreading, that the world has abandoned the people of Aleppo to a violent, agonising death," he said.

Moscow ignores US threat

Russia has said it will continue its bombing campaign in Syria despite US' threat of walking away from holding peace talks. 

The attacks will continue till Aleppo is reclaimed by the Syrian forces, Moscow said.

Syrian forces' offensive in Aleppo escalated after a ceasefire brokered by Moscow and Washington collapsed earlier this month. 

The countries had accused each other of being responsible for the crumbling of the peace deal. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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