The war-torn city of Aleppo has been facing violence and destruction for nearly six years, but this week things took an extreme turn when pro-government troops executed over 80 innocent civilians. Thousands of citizens are still trapped in the city – either in collapsed buildings and under rubble, or by government forces. Now, Syrian rebels are reporting that women are taking their own lives in order to avoid being sexually abused by troops.
Abdullah Othman, the head of one of Aleppo’s largest rebel groups said Wednesday morning that, "20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped."
One woman, a nurse, wrote and shared her suicide note with the leaders of the opposition. Metro provided a translated version of the note:
Mass rape is not a new assault tactic in situations like these – we saw it in Rwanda, and The Daily Beast reported on mass rape in Syrian regime prisons over two years ago. But as things escalate to horrifying acts of genocide, and people are murdered in the streets every day, these women see no other way out but to end their lives.
And rampant killing and rape are likely to continue, not only in Aleppo, but in other places held by the opposition like Douma, Raqqa and Idlib, according to Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN.
Regardless, the U.S. and other western countries are doing very little to confront this genocide.
“What can happen next, if the international community continues to collectively wring its hands can be much more dangerous," Hussein said. "We cannot let this continue."
You can find information here on how you can help the people of Aleppo.
Image via Twitter: The International Rescue Committee
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