'At least 8 children dead' as Christian neighbourhoods attacked in Aleppo

Fighting has intensified in Aleppo over the past few days.Reuters

Christian and Kurdish neighbourhoods in Aleppo have come under attack and a number of children have been killed as Syria continues to struggle with intensified fighting, more than five years into its civil war.

On Monday the Christian neighbourhood of Sulaymaniyah in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria and populated mainly by Armenians and Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs, was attacked.

A Demand for Action (ADFA), a group working for the protection of minorities in the Middle East, said in an update on Facebook that Sulaymaniyah came under fire from "terrorists".

"It was only weeks after photos had been circulated all over the world, depicting the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II celebrating with the inhabitants of Aleppo, that Christians were finally safe. Now, they are under heavy attack again. Many children were killed today," ADFA said.

It posted a video clip by Inews, in which Aleppo residents "are begging the world not to forget them. They cry out: 'They want to exterminate us. Enough is enough. We have been forgotten, why... why... we are begging...'"

ADFA's founder Nuri Kino, an Assyrian, confirmed to Christian Today that Kurdish and Christian children had been killed in the fighting.

"Turkish forces fighting together with the so-called opposition have been fighting the regime's army for a couple of days now, heavy fighting. But what people could not see coming was the attacks against Christian neighbourhoods," he said. "Kurdish neighbourhoods have also been attacked. Both the Christians and the Kurdish are seen as the enemy, it's a mess."

A cousin of Kino's mother is currently in Aleppo. She told him this morning: "We were praying that we could get some rest from the war, that it is over, just weeks ago we started to get normal life back. Now, we have lost all hope, we just want out of here, there is no one to protect us. I can't take it any more, I can't see more friends, relatives or neighbours lose their children from the bombs of the terrorists.

"We are all dead, in a way or another, life came back to us as for a vacation but now dead has taken over again. We are begging the world to find a solution to stop this war, please, please, no more children suffering, tell them Nuri, tell them".

Spokeswoman for ADFA, Diana Yaqco, said: "All I can say on this situation [is] that it is incredibly sad and it's not a surprise either. We are being hunted all the time, not just for being a minority people but for our religion also... This week was the commemoration [of] 101 years since the genocide of Armenians, Assyrians at the hands of Ottoman Empire.

"This genocide I feel will continue to follow us, world leaders can recognise it, stamp it onto papers, but what's the use when we are still being killed for the same reasons we were being killed 101 years ago?"

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today said that at least 30 people, including at least eight children, had been killed in Aleppo in the last 24 hours.

Fighting between the Syrian government's forces and rebels across the city also injured dozens more, the monitoring group said.

According to Reuters, fighting has intensified in Aleppo over the last few days after a partial truce agreed in February almost collapsed.