Stop What You're Doing & Witness The Suffering In Aleppo

It's been called a "complete meltdown of humanity."

For the past week, the world has been shocked and horrified by graphic images and stories of the carnage and destruction in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The city has been a symbol of the conflict and the refugee crisis since early on in the Syrian civil war. The former industrial hub has been split for over four years — with the Bashar Al-Assad regime controlling the west, while the rebels held the east. But a new wave of terror fell over the 250,000 residents of eastern Aleppo this past week when the pro-government forces moved to recapture the rebel-held districts.

With their victory, numerous atrocities followed: from the alleged execution of about 80 civilians, including women and children, to the resumed air strikes and heavy artillery against the city after a cease-fire deal fell through.

"The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women, and children, the destruction — and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict," Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Tuesday. "What can happen next, if the international community continues to collectively wring its hands, can be much more dangerous. What is happening with Aleppo could repeat itself in Douma, in Raqqa, in Idleb. We cannot let this continue."

After days of pleading from international observers and humanitarian groups, some evacuations from the city have reportedly begun. It's still unclear how many residents remain in eastern Aleppo, and how long it would take to evacuate everyone who wishes to flee.

The heartbreak and horror experienced day in and day out by people living in literal war zones can feel worlds away for those of us lucky to live in more stable nations. But we must not let ourselves become numb or complacent about what's happening. Ahead, photos that capture the severity of the situation in Syria today. Find out more about what you can do to help here.

Editor's note: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing. Refinery29 has not taken the decision to publish these graphic images lightly. We have chosen to show them to draw attention to the ongoing Syrian civil war and refugee crisis. Read more about the crisis here, and find out how you can help here and here.

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Photo: KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images.
Syrians left a rebel-held area of Aleppo for the government-held side on December 13, 2016, during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake the embattled city.
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Photo: Yahya Alerjo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Sabah Muhammed, whose seven children were killed during a bombardment of the Assad regime forces, died in a wheelchair while waiting for a doctor with her husband Ebu Muhammed Halebi in Aleppo, Syria, on December 3, 2016.
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Photo: Hassan Ammar/AP Images.
A Syrian family who were displaced from east Aleppo last month returned to their home in the Hanano district of eastern Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday, December 4, 2016.
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Photo: GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images.
A wounded Syrian woman from the al-Sukkari neighborhood was helped onto the back of a truck as she fled during the ongoing operation by Syrian government forces to retake remaining rebel-held areas in Aleppo on December 14, 2016.

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Photo: KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images.
A Syrian boy was seen among other civilians leaving a rebel-held area of Aleppo for the government-held side on December 13, 2016.
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Photo: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images.
Syrian residents, fleeing violence in the restive Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, arrived in Aleppo's Fardos neighborhood on December 13, 2016, after regime troops retook the area from rebel fighters.
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Photo: GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images.
Syrian residents left Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood after pro-government forces captured the area in the eastern part of the war-torn city on December 13, 2016.
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Photo: Hassan Ammar/AP Images.
In this photo, taken on Sunday, December 4, 2016, Amina Hamawy cried after she returned to her looted home in the Hanano district of eastern Aleppo. It's been a painful homecoming shared by hundreds of Syrians who have been returning to areas devastated by years of war and then retaken from the city's embattled rebels in a recent government offensive.
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Photo: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images.
Syrian civilians fled the Sukkari neighborhood toward safer rebel-held areas in southeastern Aleppo, on December 12, 2016.
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Photo: Hassan Ammar/AP Images.
Smoke rose following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions in eastern Aleppo on Monday, December 5, 2016.
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