"We have no more room. I have 20 to 25 bodies from different parts of Aleppo that we don't know where to bury,” said Mohammed Abu Jaafar, the head of the local forensic authority. "Even if I were to consider mass burials, I don't have the machines to do the digging."
Medical officials have said that even if there was room to bury the dead, digging their graves is far too dangerous, as Syrian forces continue their brutal assault on rebel-held areas. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that 300 people have been killed in east Aleppo in the past three weeks alone.
The scenes being described out of the Syrian city are reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic nightmare, with dead bodies piled on top of one another along the streets. The Associated Press also reported that residents of one neighborhood only discovered a corpse after a local cat began eating it. “A woman from the neighborhood came and reported it to the morgue. We still don't know who the corpse belongs to," Abu Jaafar said. "I swear to God I cried. And I am one who is used to horrific scenes."
Those types of "horrific scenes" are unfolding all over Eastern Aleppo, which is becoming "one giant graveyard," according to the UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien. The Washington Post reports that Ammar al-Selma, the head of Aleppo’s White Helmets branch, looked on as a mother and daughter were looking through body bags in search of a loved one, when "suddenly, the mother cried out and reached for a leg," adding that she knew it was her husband because she "knew his jeans."
Meanwhile, wounded civilians have had a difficult time receiving proper care after air strikes took out several key medical facilities. Some doctors have set up underground care stations but their resources are thin, and patients have been dying at an alarming rate before receiving any kind of medical attention. Abu Jaafar worries that the growing piles of bodies could reveal the location of these clandestine clinics.
While residents of Aleppo continue to flee the war-torn area, the Syrian government is gobbling up rebel-held areas, prompting Syria’s army to issue a warning to rebel fighters that if they don’t leave Aleppo, they will face “inevitable death." Brigadier General Samir Suleiman added that the army “will continue fighting until we restore stability and security to all neighbourhoods.”