Syria War: Those Bombing Aleppo ‘Must Answer To God’ – Pope | WakaWaka Reporters

Syria War: Those Bombing Aleppo ‘Must Answer To God’ – Pope

Pope Francis has decried the bombing of Aleppo in Syria, saying those responsible for killing civilians will have to answer to God.

Speaking in St Peter’s Square in Rome, he called it “an already martyred city, where everybody is dying”.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces have launched a fierce campaign to take control of rebel-held eastern areas.

At least 96 children have been killed and 223 injured in eastern Aleppo since Friday, children’s charity UNICEF said.

“The children of Aleppo are trapped in a living nightmare,” said Unicef deputy executive director Justin Forsyth on Wednesday. “There are no words left to describe the suffering they are experiencing.”

Air strikes continued to hit the besieged neighbourhoods through Tuesday night. Local medical workers said that two major hospitals in eastern Aleppo were put out of service by the bombardment. The extent of the damage to the facilities was not immediately clear.

International medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) tweeted to say that both hospitals were out of service. Adham Sahloul, a spokesman for the US-based Syrian American Medical Society, which supports the two hospitals, said the two attacks took place at the same time, suggesting they were deliberately targeted.

Addressing crowds in Rome, Pope Francis urged all sides to “commit themselves with all their strength to protect civilians”. He said: “This is an imperative and urgent obligation. I appeal to the consciences of those responsible for the bombings, who will one day will have to account to God.”

In the past few days, pro-government forces have begun ground operations to try to recapture more territory from rebel forces. They have made advances in the city centre, reports say.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers have been accused of war crimes and “barbarism” by the US and its Western allies, who back the rebels. Moscow has vigorously denied the allegations and criticised their “unacceptable” rhetoric.

Separately, fresh allegations of chemical weapons use on the part of the Syrian government have been made by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.