NEW YORK, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The United Nations on Monday urged warring sides in Syria to stop fighting so the electrical and water networks of Aleppo could be repaired amid a humanitarian crisis.
“The U.N stands ready to assist the civilian population of Aleppo, a city now united in its suffering,” U.N. officials said in a statement. “At a minimum, the U.N. requires a full-fledged cease-fire or weekly 48-hour humanitarian pauses to reach the millions of people in need throughout Aleppo and replenish the food and medicine stocks, which are running dangerously low.”
The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million people are affected by the Syrian civil war within or near Aleppo, which was Syria’s largest city before the country’s civil war. The agency warns that the available water in wells and tanks in Aleppo is not enough to sustain civilian needs.
Up to 275,000 people remain trapped in east Aleppo since early July when the last remaining access route to the area was closed. On Saturday, the main access route into west Aleppo was cut off — meaning more than 2 million are now trapped in the besieged city, the United Nations said.
“Over the past few weeks, communities in both east and west Aleppo have borne the brunt of the vicious conflict, with countless civilians dead or injured,” the agency reported. “Attacks on civilian infrastructure this week severely damaged the city’s electric and water infrastructure, leaving more than two million residents of Aleppo without electricity or access to the public water network.”
The United Nations has urged for the humanitarian assistance of civilians, which it said is most effectively carried out through cross-border operations from Turkey. Syria has been ravaged by a complex civil war in which the Islamic State, the Syrian government and multiple Syrian rebel groups fight for control of territory.