Middle East

UN official: Optimism in east Aleppo because guns are silent

  • This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show Russian Military engineers operating in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

    This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show Russian Military engineers operating in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show a Russian Military engineer distributing juice to local children in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

    This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show a Russian Military engineer distributing juice to local children in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show Russian Military engineers operating in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

    This undated handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry claims to show Russian Military engineers operating in Aleppo, Syria.(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A senior U.N. humanitarian official who has been working in the Syrian city of Aleppo says the combat damage in the former rebel-held east is enormous but there is a sense of optimism because the guns have fallen silent — at least for now.

Sajjad Malik, humanitarian coordinator in the city that was once Syria's business hub, told U.N. correspondents Wednesday by audio link that people in Aleppo have put their hopes in the peace process that led to the current cease-fire.

He notes many previous cease-fires have failed, but adds that "this time somehow they feel that maybe the international community will stick around and maybe they will be able to reclaim their lives and livelihoods."

Malik says the U.N. has been working in east Aleppo since Jan. 1.