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A wave of intense airstrikes has left nearly two million people in the Syrian city of Aleppo without water, UN officials said Saturday as activists said at least 25 more civilians had been killed.
UN children’s charity, UNICEF, said this week’s renewed airstrikes – which further dashed hopes of reviving last week’s cease-fire – had damaged a water pumping station which supplies about 250,000 people in rebel-held eastern parts and violence is preventing repair teams from reaching it.
“Violence is preventing repair teams from reaching the station. In retaliation, the Suleiman al Halabi pumping station, also located in the east, was switched off - cutting water to 1.5 million people in the western parts of the city,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria.
“Depriving children of water puts them at risk of catastrophic outbreaks of waterborne diseases and adds to the suffering, fear and horror that children in Aleppo live through every day.”
Warplanes mounted a new wave of heavy air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo Saturday, rebel sources, a rescue worker and a war monitor reported. The U.K.-based Syria Observatory on Human Rights said at least 25 people had been killed.
It followed intense strikes on Friday that the White Helmet volunteer group said had killed 91 people and marked their “toughest” day so far in the civil war.
Video showed children being pulled from the rubble, including many dead but also a 5-year-old girl and a baby who were alive.
The attacks have used ordnance more destructive than anything previously fired in the area, and many buildings have been destroyed, residents say. Images of blast sites show craters several meters wide and deep.
A senior official in an Aleppo-based rebel faction, the Levant Front, told Reuters the weapons appeared designed to bring down entire buildings. "Most of the victims are under the rubble because more than half the civil defense has been forced out of service," he said.
The Syrian army says it is targeting rebel positions in the city, and denies hitting civilians.
"Every missile makes an earthquake we feel regardless of how far off the bombardment is," one Aleppo resident said.