Middle East

Syrian boys swim in crater as battle for Aleppo rages

Photograph published by Aleppo Media Centre showing Syrian boys diving in a water-filled crater in the Sheikh Saeed district of Aleppo on 31 August 2016 Image copyright Aleppo Media Centre
Image caption The Aleppo Media Centre said the photos were taken in Sheikh Saeed on Wednesday night

Syrian activists have published photos showing boys swimming in a water-filled crater in the divided city of Aleppo.

The pro-opposition Aleppo Media Centre said the crater was in the Sheikh Saeed area and was the result of an attack by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

"Whatever Assad has done in Aleppo, life is not over, its children make a new life in every site destroyed by his rockets," reads the caption.

Some two million people are trapped by the fighting in and around Aleppo.

The UN has called for a 48-hour "humanitarian pause" to allow the safe delivery of food and medicine to the rebel-held east and government-controlled west.

It also wants to carry out repairs to the city's war-ravaged electricity and water systems, amid late summer temperatures in excess of 35C (95F).

Officials from the US and Russia, which back opposing sides in the five-year civil war, were expected to meet this week to discuss how to bring about the pause.

Image copyright Aleppo Media Centre
Image caption The group responsible for the photos said it was proof "life is not over"
Image copyright Aleppo Media Centre
Image caption Aleppo has seen escalating fighting in recent weeks

Aleppo, once Syria's commercial and industrial centre, has been divided roughly in two since 2012.

However, fighting escalated in early July, when government forces encircled the rebel-held east and stepped up air strikes.

A month later, a rebel offensive broke the siege and severed the government's main route into the west of the city.

The photos of the boys swimming in the crater were taken on Wednesday night, two weeks after the Aleppo Media Centre's image of a young boy from Aleppo who was hurt in an air strike caused worldwide outrage.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Two weeks earlier, pictures of a boy from Aleppo who was injured in an air strike caused outrage

Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh was photographed sitting alone in an ambulance, caked in dust and blood and looking dazed, after being pulled from the rubble of his home in a rebel-held area.

His 10-year-old brother, Ali, later died from his injuries in hospital.

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