The controversy over war crimes simply isn’t one as far as the people of Aleppo are concerned. 

Children and women are dying daily. By the time you finish reading this article, there is a very good chance many more will be dead.

As I am typing this story, doctors are texting me telling me another five children have been hurt.

Hospitals are being hit; those first on the scene of attacks trying to help the injured are themselves being targeted; chemical weapons are being used; schools are being struck.

We have become so used to seeing this massacre unfold in front of us that many of us cannot distinguish between one horrible atrocity and another.

It has become a blur of dust, dirt and death, blood and crying – over five long years.

The almost total absence of foreign journalists inside Syria over the past few years has almost certainly contributed to what amounts to a collective numbing; a horrified sense of defeat about this awfulness by the worldwide community.

There appears to be an acute feeling of global frustration that no matter how heart-rending the images; no matter how desperate the circumstances; no matter how contemptible the actions being carried out in Syria, nothing is going to change.

Occasionally, the Syrian government has handed out visas to a few journalists. Very few are then allowed to report from regime-controlled areas around the capital Damascus.

The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen and NBC’s Bill Neely have valiantly tried to fill the gaps for us all.

But mostly – and particularly since the siege of Aleppo – the international media has had to rely on camera crews or young activists who are themselves trapped in the city or behind rebel lines across Syria.

And that leaves a giant-sized hole for the regime, their Russian allies and all the querying sceptics to liberally sprinkle dollops of doubt about many of the reports coming out of the country.

The battlefield that is Syria is so crowded it has been possible for those living in it, and those watching from outside, to continually blame each other.

So despite the rebels not having any aircraft, Syria’s Bashar al Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin continue to insist they are not responsible for the airstrikes on medical facilities in Aleppo.

The Syrian President has denied dropping barrel bombs filled with chemicals despite mobile phone footage showing his soldiers doing just that from inside helicopters.

Both have repeatedly denied bombings from the air upon heavily built-up residential areas as well as the use of white phosphorus, which is banned under international law. 

When a defence is proffered, it seems to be based around the claim that airstrikes/bombings are justifiable because they insist Islamic State fundamentalists are hiding out in the neighbourhoods.

Or they claim terrorists are using the camouflage of an aid convoy to smuggle in arms and weapons. Or a hospital is treating terrorist fighters.

Or that the multitude of opposition groups are themselves perpetrating war crimes by firing their hell cannons – home-made rockets packed full of explosives and fired indiscriminately into civilian areas which also constitute a crime against humanity.

No-one is suggesting these should not be investigated too, but the people of Aleppo who are trying to survive under a barrage of airstrikes would argue the scale is incomparable.

IS has become the cast-iron excuse for the Syrian regime and its allies to bomb, well, pretty much wherever they want.

And the worldwide fear about Islamic extremists means there is very little questioning about the claims of their existence in any one area.

If there is even a shred of possibility that IS is in x town or y village, go bomb seems to be the thinking. 

But attacking civilians, attacking medical buildings, targeting schools – all constitute war crimes under a string of international treaties aimed at protecting people caught in a battle zone. 

The citizens of Aleppo do not have much faith in international law right now.

A citizen of Britain is more likely to be fined for a minor parking offence than a world leader is held to account or prevented from killing literally thousands and thousands of people.

I spoke to the Mayor of Aleppo online and was left speechless (a rare event) as he lambasted me over the world’s inaction to what is happening to his city.

Brita Haj Hassan said: We consider the international community as partners in these war crimes.

There is a holocaust going on in Aleppo right now. Aleppo is burning and the international community is just watching and doing nothing.

As the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said in early September, the striking of medical facilities – even if it is believed they hold injured fighters – is still against international operating rules in war.

The trouble is, it seems impossible to enforce these agreed rules with transgressions all over the world.

So while US jets are bombing clearly-marked medical facilities in Afghanistan and Saudi jets are unleashing airstrikes on hospitals in Yemen without any repercussions whatsoever, it becomes exceedingly difficult to become the moral campaigner over war crimes elsewhere.

And so the citizens of the world – that’s you and me, by the way – are relegated to watching with no expectation that anything will really be done to stop these scandalous actions.

The people of Aleppo are screaming – and no-one but no-one appears to be able to put an end to it.


(c) Sky News 2016: Fear of Islamic State has become cast-iron excuse to bomb Aleppo