Families in Aleppo "eating grass and garbage to survive"

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Group of children push a cart trying to sell some radish in Al-Sha'ar neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Zayat (file photo)

The situation in the besieged areas in Syria is "horrific" and families in Aleppo City are eating grass and garbage to survive, Canada's permanent representative to the UN has warned.

Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard made the remarks ahead of a vote in the UN General Assembly on a draft resolution regarding the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

More than 280,000 people have been killed since a civil war erupted in the country in 2011, and millions of people have been forced to flee the country.

Priyanka Shankar has more.

The crisis in Syria has become the "shame of our time, Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard of Canada told Member States while reminding them that it was "entirely in their hands to stop it." 

An estimated 250,000 people remain trapped in eastern Aleppo with no access to food, clean water or medical care. 

Ambassador Blanchard urged the delegates to provide the basic humanitarian and medical relief so that people can "simply stay alive". 

The resolution calls for the protection of civilians, condemns the forced displacements of the population in Syria and urges the Security Council to address the "devastating" humanitarian crisis. 

As a co-sponsor of the text, Ambassador Blanchard called on Member States to "stand together with one powerful voice and say enough".

"The situation in besieged parts of Syria as we all know is horrific. As regards to Aleppo, UN officials have reported that if nothing is done, it may soon become one giant graveyard. Food supplies have been exhausted. Families are eating grass and the little garbage left to survive. The sick and injured have no hospital to go to and cannot get basic medical treatment. As we prepare to vote today, regardless of our political views on this conflict, I invite you to put yourselves in the shoes of the people of Syria." 

The resolution will not solve the crisis, but it is an important statement and reminder that above all else, the lives of the Syrian people should come first, Canada's Ambassador to the UN said. 

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations. 


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