The Red Cross delegation in Syria has issued a new statement today warning that escalating violence in eastern Syria is leading to both a “harrowing” spike in civilian deaths, and a soaring number of displaced persons for aid groups to try to contend with.
Aid workers likened the current level of violence to that in Aleppo in early 2016, when the Syrian military was trying to siege the major northern city and expel al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. The Syrian government isn’t driving this latest escalation, however.
This time it’s the United States, and to a lesser extent Russia, who in the course of competing anti-ISIS operations are dramatically increasing airstrikes. Those strikes have particularly been in densely populated cities, like US strikes in Raqqa, putting locals at serious risk.
Making matters worse, the airstrikes around Raqqa and Deir Ezzor have hit at least 10 hospitals in the last 10 days. The Red Cross warned that attacks on hospitals and infrastructure are making caring for the civilian population even harder.