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Smoke rises from a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hundred children trapped in besieged building

WT24 Desk

More than 100 unaccompanied children are trapped in a building which is under heavy attack in eastern Aleppo, according to UNICEF,according to reports.

Regional director of the UN children’s agency, Geert Cappelaere, said: “According to alarming reports from a doctor in the city, many children, possibly more than 100, unaccompanied or separated from their families, are trapped in a building, under heavy attack in east Aleppo.”

Mr Cappelaere did not give details on the doctor or the location of the children but said it was “time for the world to stand up for the children of Aleppo and bring their living nightmare to an end”.

His words came as pro-government forces continued their assault on Aleppo’s few remaining rebel-held areas, trapping thousands of civilians.

President Bashar al Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, have recaptured large swathes of the city in recent days and, according to state TV, now hold 98% of neighbourhoods previously occupied by rebels.

The army said its troops and allied forces were in the “last moments before declaring victory”, while the head of the government’s Aleppo security committee warned rebels they “either have to surrender or die”.

There were also reports of pro-government forces being involved in what UNICEF described as “extrajudicial killings of civilians, including children”.

The UN human rights office also said it had reports of the troops killing at least 82 civilians in the eastern part of Aleppo, including 11 women and 13 children, in four different neighbourhoods.

UNICEF called for a truce between the fighting parties and for civilians who wanted to leave the city to be allowed to do so “in safety and in dignity”.

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