As the fierce fighting in Aleppo has continued in recent weeks, the toll on those living in the city has worsened.
The United Nations warned yesterday that 16,000 people had been displaced by the Syrian government’s advance into rebel-held areas and the worse could be yet to come.
The humanitarian cost of the battle for control of the city in north western Syria is of grave concern to many of the aid agencies involved.
The British Red Cross estimates that 60,000 have fled their homes since August, some 20,000 in the past week.
And with temperatures in the region dipping towards their winter average low of 4C a push is being made to prepare as best as possible for those who will be spending the winter without a home.
The #StandwithAleppo campaign has generated the support of many including J. K . Rowling.
The author is one of its biggest advocates and has been tweeting vigorously about the conflict in attempt to raise awareness of what is going on.
Yesterday, she retweeted a post from British Red Cross, in which they spoke of the work being carried out to reinforce shelters to protect families from winter weather.
Another was a heart-rendering post from a mother and daughter whose house was destroyed in a bomb blast in the city.
Speaking about the crisis yesterday, Hugh Fenton, who is head of the MIddle East region for the British Red Cross, said support will only address people’s immediate needs.
‘Families are fleeing for their lives with only what they can carry,’ he added.
‘Many are living temporarily in collective shelters while some are being hosted by other households that are already feeling the strain.’
Volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are distributing mattresses, blankets, bread and cooked meals and have installed water tanks to provide clean drinking water.
Aid has also reached four other towns that have had no humanitarian help for two months -Madaya, Zabadani in rural Damascus, and Foua and Kefraya in rural Idleb.
What is going on in Aleppo?
Aleppo was Syria’s largest city and industrial centre before the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.
Since shortly afterwards, control has been split between the government in the west and rebels in the east.
Syrian troops have begun to assert more control in the past year with the help of Shia Muslim militias and Russian air strikes.
The east has been under an all out assault since September and on Monday the government reasserted control over the entire northern half of the rebel’s section.
The British Red Cross has shipped winter supplies that will be distributed over the next month and another 80,000 food parcels will be sent to Syria in early 2017.
The UN’s humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said thousands more were likely to flee if the fighting continued to spread and intensify in the coming days.
He told the BBC he was ‘extremely concerned about the fate of civilians as a result of the deeply alarming and chilling situation unfolding in Aleppo.’
He said: ‘Intensified ground fighting and indiscriminate aerial bombardment over the past few days in eastern Aleppo city has reportedly killed and injured scores of civilians,’ he added.
‘There are no functioning hospitals left, and official food stocks are practically finished.’
To support British Red Cross’ Syria Crisis Appeal visit this webpage.