"Ruins speak for themselves" says UNHCR chief in Aleppo

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UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi walks past destroyed ancient buildings in the old city of Aleppo. Photo: UNHCR/Bassam Diab

The ruins of east Aleppo "speak for themselves" said the High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande on Wednesday, standing in the rubble of the Syrian city that's now under full government control.

The UNHCR chief said it was an "urgent" priority to accelerate humanitarian aid in Aleppo, as well as besieged and hard to reach areas.

Matthew Wells has more.

Clearly moved by what he was seeing in the shattered streets of Aleppo, where the guns finally fell silent in December, Mr Grandi said the destruction of the ancient city would "weigh very heavily on the conscience of the world for generations."

"Look at these ruins, the ruins of this war, this is why these refugees that are now denied entry, this is what these refugees have fled from.  We must think first of all that there are people here, some of them even returning to these ruins, they need to work, to earn some money. They need the elementary things of life."

He pointed to children's clothes hanging out of windows, and kitchens cut in half by shells and rockets, adding that "irrespective of all the politics" a viable peace "had to come" and the Syrians should not be abandoned by the international community.

After nearly six years of brutal war with hundreds of thousands dead, and more than half the population needing assistance, the crisis was far from over, said Mr Grandi.

Contemplating the destruction he said the world "had to go back to solidarity" with an open mind and an "open heart".

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’05″

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