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Nearly 10,000 civilians leave Eastern Aleppo as Syrian army makes gains

Nearly 10,000 civilians have fled eastern Aleppo in the past 24 hours as government forces advance against militant-held districts of Syria’s second city, according to a monitoring group.

Aleppo

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that almost 10,000 civilians have fled Eastern Aleppo to government-held parts of city’s west and Kurdish controlled northern district of Sheikh Maksoud.

The Coventry-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information, said that in the last 24 hours, families had managed to escape areas controlled by armed militant factions, seeking refuge in government and Kurdish held areas.

In the city’s northern part, now mostly controlled by government forces, “rebels have lost at least 30 percent of the territory they once controlled in Aleppo,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said

Rapid advancement and recent gains by the Syrian army have allowed civilians to escape districts held by armed groups, who have been accused of withholding aid and preventing non-combatants from seeking refuge in the government controlled west and the Kurdish dominated north of the city.

Syrian troops took Hanano district, followed by the seizure of the Jabal Badro district on Sunday, underlining attempts to divide the militant controlled Eastern Aleppo in two.

Map depicting contested areas and efforts by the Syrian army to split militant held areas in two. Source: Al Masdar News
Map depicting contested areas and efforts by the Syrian army to split militant held areas in two. Source: Al Masdar News

Kurdish fighters are reportedly involved in the effort to target armed groups in the city, including Jabhat al-Nusra and western-backed groups, after apparently taking the Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood of the city.

Aid Truck Aleppo
Russian Center for Reconciliation Aid Truck – Federal News Agency / Roman Martynovich

Advances by the Syrian army over the weekend comes after UN inaction was blamed for the lack of humanitarian pauses.

The humanitarian pauses in Aleppo in Syria, which were repeatedly introduced by Russia, were repeatedly sabotaged because of the lack of initiative from the United Nations and because of the actions taken by the terrorists, Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Last week, the Syrian army asked the residents of the eastern districts of Aleppo to cooperate with the government forces so that they could be protected.

“The general command of the Syrian Army is urging the residents of eastern districts of the city of Aleppo districts to collaborate with the military and confirming its strong commitment to ensuring their protection and safety,” an army statement said.

 

Written by Jim Lemuel Wilson

Jim Lemuel Wilson previously worked for The Manila Times and S&P Global Market Intelligence. He specializes in Middle East affairs and foreign policy. Contact Jim by email.

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