New satellite imagery of heavily bombed eastern Aleppo in northern Syria shows extensive damage to civilian areas since a temporary cease fire broke down on September 18.
The U.N. Operational Satellite Program began mapping the extent of destruction in eastern Aleppo on September 18 as the bilateral U.S.-Russian cease fire agreement was falling apart. The collection of satellite imagery continued until October 1.
Unsurprisingly, an analysis of the images confirm the citizens of Aleppo have taken a big beating from the relentless bombing by Syrian government forces and their Russian ally.
Damage assessment - destroyed homes in Al-Qasileh District of Aleppo, Syria. (Satellite Image produced by UNITAR-UNOSAT)
UNOSAT research advisor, Lars Bromley tells VOA a comprehensive damage assessment of Aleppo shows a very significant increase in the levels of destruction this year compared to the previous three years of analysis.
“As for what has happened in the last week or so, over the last 10 days since the cease-fire has broken down, you certainly see an awful lot of new damage or plenty of new damage," Bromley said. "However, remember that the areas that are being bombed have largely been bombed continuously for quite some time... What you see is the formerly blasted and blown up areas are experiencing a great deal of additional damage.”
Aid convoy bombing confirmed
About two weeks ago, a U.N. convoy carrying desperately needed aid to thousands of Syrians trapped in rebel-held eastern Aleppo was bombed, killing at least 20 people. Both Russia and Syria deny they had anything to do with this attack.
Bromley says UNOSAT cannot assess blame, but satellite imagery definitely confirms that the bombing took place.
“The humanitarian convoy a couple of weeks ago, we had an image of that and could clearly see the damage there as well," he said. "With our analysis, we determined it was an airstrike and I think multiple other sources have said that as well.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has established an internal U.N. board of inquiry to investigate the attack. UNOSAT says it has not receive a request from the investigators for information, but has shared its satellite images with interested parties.