Two million people are without water as the battle for Aleppo between the Syrian government and opposition groups intensifies, heavily damaging the city's electric and water infrastructure, according to the United Nations.
And the water that's still available through wells and tanks isn't nearly enough to sustain the population's needs, warned UN emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien on Tuesday in a statement.
As government warplanes targeted rebel-held parts of the city, the UN relief wing warned that two million people trapped by the fighting were in even greater danger because of rising temperatures and diminishing medical supplies in the area. It called for an "immediate halt to the hostilities and, at a minimum, a two-day weekly humanitarian pause" to allow the city's crippled water and electrical networks to be repaired.
A new round of fighting is expected to begin soon since the Islamist-led rebel coalition of more than two dozen groups, collectively known as Jaysh al Fateh, broke a government-held siege in Aleppo on Sunday, opening a way in from the south and prompting a major airstrike campaign. Reinforcements are being brought in, CBS reported.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is crucial to the Syrian civil war, and it's unclear whether or not opposition groups will be able to keep a hold on their recent gains, but
"I told the Council that we must all be gravely concerned for the safety, health and protection of those terrified civilians. They are counting on us to deliver assistance and end their suffering," O'Brien said about his briefing to the UN security council in a news release, adding that UN agencies and partners are ready to help civilians in Aleppo, but need a day or two of safe access to do so.
Follow Tamara Khandaker on Twitter: @anima_tk