EU announces aid plan for civilians trapped in Aleppo
BRUSSELS - The European Union on Sunday announced an aid plan for tens of thousands of civilians trapped in Syria's war-ravaged city of Aleppo.
In a statement, the EU said it was unlocking 25 million euros ($28 million) of funding to help its humanitarian partners in Syria cover "urgent medical, water and sanitation, and food assistance in Aleppo and in other priority areas".
The bloc will work with the UN to deliver "basic life-saving assistance to civilians in (rebel-held) East Aleppo," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and humanitarian commissioner Christos Stylianides said in the statement.
Aleppo, once Syria's vibrant commercial powerhouse, is now at the heart of a major military campaign by President Bashar al-Assad's fighters and his steadfast ally Moscow.
The offensive, announced on September 22, has seen dozens of civilians killed and residential buildings flattened in the east, where an estimated 250,000 people live under government siege.
The UN has said that water and food supplies in eastern Aleppo are running low, while efforts to bring in aid convoys through the Turkish border have been stalled by the fighting.
Citing a "humanitarian tragedy in Aleppo," the EU called on all sides in the fighting "to urgently provide the necessary authoritisations for aid delivery and for medical evacuations to proceed".
The EU and UN are planning to coordinate medical evacuations for those in urgent need, "with a focus on women, children and the elderly", the statement said.
The UN aid chief on Sunday said civilians under bombardment in rebel-held east Aleppo were facing "a level of savagery that no human should have to endure".
The battle for Aleppo has sparked some of the most savage violence in Syria's conflict since the beginning of March 2011.
The conflict has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced over half the population.