As humanitarians, we heard this morning's announcement of exit corridors for civilians to depart Aleppo City with both trepidation and hope.
Opening a door for people who wish to leave Aleppo City is important, but it's not a substitute for on-the-ground humanitarian access. Some 250 to 400,000 civilians remain in what was once Syria's largest city – not all of them want or are able to leave.
Many of those who remain tell us humanitarian aid is their only source of food. They have no money or income. They are widows with young children, elderly people without relatives to support them and people with disabilities that prevent them from evacuating. We are worried about what will become of them if there is no humanitarian access to the city.
For those who do choose to leave, the question is, where can they go? They will need the freedom to move safely, to go where they wish and to receive assistance when they get there. And today in Syria, the stark reality is nowhere is safe for civilians.
Mercy Corps will continue to work in Aleppo, and we are worried about what the days and weeks will bring. No matter where you live, all civilians have a right to protection from the violence of war, to feed their children and to get medical care when it's needed.
We urge all sides to ensure continuous humanitarian access across Aleppo city so that innocent civilians have access to food, medical assistance and other lifesaving help. We urge the international community to work with the parties to the conflict to guarantee humanitarian access and the safety of the courageous aid workers who risk their lives each day to help the most vulnerable people in their communities.