Syria outlines plans for conquest of Aleppo

Laura Christensen
August 9, 2016

Dozens of families are leaving besieged eastern areas of the city of Aleppo along a humanitarian corridor, Syrian state media says.

Russia, a key ally of al-Assad, on July 28 announced the opening of humanitarian passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city's rebel-held eastern neighborhoods.

The civilians were "besieged by the terrorist groups in the eastern neighborhoods" and crossed into the Salahaddin section of the city, where Syrian army units sent them to makeshift shelters, the news agency reported.

TVC NEWS Syrian pro-government forces tightened their grip around Aleppo on Thursday, and the governor of the area said they would open corridors for civilians to escape the besieged, rebel-held districts of the city.

Reports said "a number" of women over the age of 40 had left the rebel-held east and had been taken to shelters, but there were no exact figure for the number of people who evacuated.

State television broadcast footage it said showed women and children crossing into the government-held part of Salaheddin neighbourhood, under the watch of soldiers.

"They did not leave food or medicine and by the time we left it was not easy", another Aleppo resident added.

Assad has issued several amnesties in recent years, including one in July 2015 for people who have dodged service or defected from the army. Some residents fear the proposed corridors are meant to restore government control over parts of the city that have been in rebel hands since 2012.

Some rebel forces had also surrendered to government forces, the report said.

It also reported that ISIS has executed 24 civilians in a village close to Manbij.

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"Aleppo residents are calling the corridors that Russian Federation is talking about "death corridors", he said.

On Saturday, regime war planes continued to hit opposition positions, with the Observatory reporting air strikes on two rebel-held areas on the outskirts of Aleppo.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the operation was "a ruse" it could disrupt US-Russian co-operation in Syria.

Observatory's chief Rami Adurrahman said another 13 people were killed in the strikes but that he could not say if they were Islamic State fighters or civilians.

In comments carried later Friday by Russia's Interfax news agency, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that Russian Federation was willing to work with the United Nations on setting up the corridors. He said those who choose to stay behind must be protected and that all parties must allow humanitarian agencies to reach them.

"In Aleppo, getting civilians to leave would both serve its propaganda and its military objectives", said Emile Hokayem, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Syrian opposition, however, said the corridors were a government ploy to recapture all of Aleppo, calling it a euphemism for forced displacement of the inhabitants, which it said would be a war crime.

Russian defence also said the Syrian Government has "prepared six humanitarian aid centres which can accommodate 3000 people".

He said that if the United Nations allows residents to travel safely to other opposition held-areas, this could reassure people that it is safe to leave and would reduce the number of people killed in the siege or from airstrikes.

Other reports by My Hot News

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