News in Brief 18 July 2016 (PM)

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Destruction in Salah Ed Din neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria. File Photo: OCHA/Josephine Guerrero

Continuing violence in Aleppo threatens to trap up to 300,000 civilians

Continuing violence across the Syrian city of Aleppo is threatening to trap up to 300,000 more civilians, without access to humanitarian assistance.

That's according to UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq, who told reporters on Monday that "hundreds of mortars and projectiles" had been launched on west Aleppo in the past week, causing "numerous civilian deaths."

"Our concern is that the recent developments in and around Aleppo city have in effect cut off humanitarian, commercial and civilian movement in and out of east Aleppo city. An estimated 2-300,000 people are at risk of being besieged. And the situation is particularly worrying to people in east Aleppo because most of the people there rely on humanitarian assistance just to meet their daily needs."

The UN said there was enough food in east Aleppo for at least 145,000 for a month, but new fuel supplies were crucial to keep medical and water facilities going, along with bakeries.

The last access road into the area was closed in early July.

Release of Cameroonian hostages in Central African Republic welcomed

The release of 11 hostages from Cameroon, who have been held in the Central African Republic (CAR) for the past two years, has been welcomed by the UN Mission in the country, MINUSCA.

The hostages who worked at the mission, were being held by an armed group called the Democratic Front of the Central African People.

The mission has also called for the group to release several local government officials who are still being held, including the mayor of Baboua.

It called on "all armed groups to renounce violence and join the dialogue process" initiated by the government of CAR.

UN driver working with Palestine Refugees in Syria killed on way home

A driver for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, has been killed on his way home from work; the eighteenth staffer to lose their life so far in the Syria conflict.

Yaser Mahmoud Shuaeeb, a driver for UNRWA in Aleppo, was struck by shrapnel fragments in his back on Sunday, as he was getting off a bus.

The 45-year-old died from his wounds and the agency sent its "heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family".

He is survived by his wife and six children.

Deploring the loss of life overall, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness, said that Yaser "was known for his outstanding service and competence".

The agency has 4,000 staff working in Syria and besides the 18 killed so far, a further 25 are either missing or detained.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'09"

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