* First major medical evacuation from eastern Aleppo
* Civilians trapped by fighting with only 5 care givers
* Some carried out on chairs in ICRC/Red Crescent operation
(Adds details, quotes)
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, Dec 8 Nearly 150 civilians, most
disabled or in need of urgent care, were evacuated overnight
from a hospital in Aleppo's Old City, the first major medical
evacuation from the eastern sector, the International Committee
of the Red Cross said on Thursday.
They had been trapped there for days by nearby fighting and
as the front line moved closer, ICRC spokeswoman Krista
Armstrong said, with only five staff to look after them.
Six children, found alone in nearby streets, aged from seven
months to seven years, were also evacuated. "The eldest said
they had not eaten for two days", she told Reuters.
Eleven patients died from lack of medication or were killed
in crossfire before ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams
could reach them late on Wednesday, the agency said in a
Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who
is in Aleppo, said of the evacuees: "Many of them cannot move
and need special attention and care."
The United Nations has said for weeks that some 400 sick and
wounded patients require emergency medical evacuation from east
Aleppo for treatment, but it was not clear whether the 150 were
Of the disabled, mental health patients, and wounded
evacuated from Dar Al-Safaa hospital in the Old City, 118 were
taken to three hospitals in the government-controlled west of
Aleppo. Some were carried out on chairs.
Sixteen critical and emergency cases were transported by
ambulance to Al-Razi surgical hospital and University Hospital,
Armstrong said. Ibn Khaldoun hospital took the mental health and
elderly patients, who were brought by bus, she said.
Thirty other men, women and children were taken to shelters,
also in the west of the city, the ICRC statement said.
"We saw so much suffering tonight: people had no access to
food or basics for almost a week", an ICRC doctor involved in
the evacuation tweeted.
As heavy fighting engulfs eastern Aleppo, the humanitarian
situation is "known to be catastrophic", the ICRC said. The
agency called on all warring sides to allow a humanitarian pause
so that aid supplies can be delivered to the besieged sector
which has been inaccessible since April.
"We will not give up on the civilians caught amidst the
fighting, and will keep trying and negotiating to reach them and
respond to their needs," Armstrong said.
The Syrian army has gained control of all parts of the Old
City, a war monitoring group said on Wednesday, part of an
advance which has seen insurgents lose about two thirds of their
main urban stronghold over the past two weeks.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)