Nearly 150 civilians, most disabled or in need of urgent medical care, were evacuated overnight from a hospital in Aleppo’s Old City, the first major evacuation from the eastern sector, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.
They had been trapped there for days by nearby fighting and as the front line moved closer. Eleven patients had died from lack of medication or been killed in crossfire before ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams could reach them, it said.
The head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser, who is in the city, said in a statement on the evacuees: “Many of them cannot move and need special attention and care.”
Of the evacuated disabled, mental health patients and wounded from Dar Al-Safaa hospital in the Old City late on Wednesday, 118 patients were taken to three hospitals in the government-controlled west of Aleppo.
Trauma and emergency cases were taken to Al-Razi surgical hospital and University Hospital, ICRC spokeswoman Krista Armstrong told Reuters, and Ibn Khaldoun hospital took the mental health and elderly patients, she said.
Thirty other men, women and children were taken to shelters, also in the west of the city, the ICRC statement said.
As heavy fighting continues in eastern Aleppo, the humanitarian situation is “known to be catastrophic”, the ICRC said. The agency called on all warring sides to allow a humanitarian pause to be able to deliver aid supplies in the besieged sector which has been inaccessible since April.
The Syrian army has gained control of all parts of the Old City, a war monitoring group said on Wednesday, part of an advance which has seen insurgents lose about two thirds of their main urban stronghold over the past two weeks.