Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2017, 16:41 GMT

SARC and ICRC evacuate 150 civilians from Aleppo frontline

Publisher International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Publication Date 8 December 2016
Cite as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), SARC and ICRC evacuate 150 civilians from Aleppo frontline, 8 December 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/584ac74e4.html [accessed 21 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Nearly 150 civilians, most of whom were disabled or in urgent need of care, were evacuated late night from a hospital in the Old City of Aleppo, in a joint operation by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Dar Al-Safaa, originally an elderly home whose role expanded because of the crisis, had been accommodating patients with mental health needs or physical disabilities. Three dozen other civilians, a number of them injured, had also sought refuge there.

"These patients and civilians had been trapped in the area for days because of heavy clashes nearby and as the front line kept drawing closer," said the ICRC's Head of Delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser, who is currently in Aleppo. "Many of them cannot move and need special attention and care. It must have been terrifying for them. Our partners from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had been trying to reach and evacuate them since Tuesday."

118 patients were taken to Aleppo's Al-Razi, University or Ibn Khaldoun hospitals, while 30 men, women and children, were transferred to shelters in Western Aleppo. Six orphaned and very young children were amongst the evacuees.

A first evacuation mission was aborted on Tuesday because of very heavy clashes in the area. Finally, yesterday afternoon SARC, with support from the ICRC, managed to reach premises in the Al-Meshatyeh neighborhood after it was retaken by Government forces and the fighting died down.

Tragically, for some, the operation came too late: 11 people died before the SARC and ICRC team were able to reach the centre. They were either caught in the crossfire or died because they did not have access to the right medications. The SARC also evacuated their human remains, so they can be properly identified and returned to their families, and accorded the appropriate funeral rites.

The ICRC and SARC stand ready to act as a neutral intermediary between all sides, and to assist civilians in areas of heavy fighting inside Eastern Aleppo where the humanitarian situation is known to be catastrophic. The ICRC urgently calls on all parties to allow a humanitarian pause and to provide the necessary security guarantees.

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