Fighting in Aleppo continues as the ceasefire intended to allow civilians to escape the besieged city breaks down, and thousands remain trapped in the city. The ceasefire had been planned in order to allow evacuations to Idlib province on Wednesday morning, however Turkish and rebel officials have said that Iranian-backed militias were not allowing civilians to leave, holding as many as 1,000 at a militia checkpoint.

The situation in Aleppo has recently been described by the UN as ‘a total meltdown in humanity’ and Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, said that the Syrian Government, as well as Turkey and Russia, have placed a ‘noose’ around the neck of civilians in the city, going on to ask “Are you incapable of shame? … Is there no execution of a child that gets under your skin? Is there literally nothing that shames you?”

Power’s questions echoed around reports from the UN that the aforementioned militias have carried out at least 82 extrajudicial killings, including women and children who were living in areas controlled by the opposition.

Civilians fear for their lives, predicting that they would be detained and tortured should they give themselves up to the regime’s forces or be killed immediately once found. One doctor pleaded: “Save the besieged districts of Aleppo. Since the early morning, the shelling has targeted all the besieged neighbourhoods with all types of weaponry. The dead are in the street, and so are the wounded, and there are no ambulances. Save Aleppo. An urgent distress call to every free person in the world.”

There has been an outpour of urgent cries from those trapped within the city: “Save us, people. Save us, people, world, anyone who has even a bit of humanity… We beg you, we beg you, the dead and wounded are in the streets and people’s homes have collapsed on top of them. Save us. Save us,” said one doctor. Another resident said: “We want to leave. We don’t want more massacres, let us leave. What is happening?”

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, had said talks with Russia and Syria were continuing to keep the deal on track, with the agreement to allow civilians and opposition fighters to leave the city being reached on Tuesday night. However the Iranian-backed militias who had not been involved in the negotiations prevented the evacuations from taking place.