Thousands of civilians trapped inside rebel-held parts of Aleppo as fighting intensifies (VIDEO)
While fighting continues to intensify as the Syrian army aims to retake neighborhoods occupied by Al-Nusra Front terrorists and other militant groups, thousands of civilians still remain trapped in the midst of hotspots unable to break away.
More than one-third of the militant-held eastern half of Aleppo has been retaken over the recent days, including a youth housing complex, located right next to a humanitarian corridor.
Though thousands are reported to be desperately trying to get out of the areas which are under the control of either Islamists or the “moderate” armed opposition, the corridor at no time appears to be crowded with people, Phelan reports from Aleppo. Few reports that make it outside of the occupied areas and Syrian troops say that people are being prevented from leaving by the militants.
Some 6,500 civilians fled the newly-freed but still dangerous Aleppo areas on Wednesday alone, and the number of people in urgent need of shelter, food and medical attention is only expected to grow in the coming days.
Last week, the Syrian government also said militants were using residents as “human shields” and prevented them from leaving. At the same time the Syrian army issued a statement saying that rebels were holding civilians as “hostages.”
“Permit those citizens who want to do so to leave, stop using them as hostages and human shields, clear the mines from the crossings identified by the state,” the army said in a statement.
This week has seen a breakthrough for the Russian-backed Syrian operation to oust militants from eastern Aleppo. This allowed tens of thousands of civilians from recaptured districts to get access to humanitarian aid, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported Tuesday.
“The most important thing is that over 80,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of children, have been freed. Many of them at long last were able to get water, food, and medical assistance at humanitarian centers set up by Russia,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Moscow expressed hope that the situation in Aleppo will be settled by the end of the year, said Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister.
On Monday, 3,179 people, including 1,381 children and 138 newborn babies managed to leave eastern Aleppo using the corridors set up by Syrian government forces, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center.
Despite Russia’s humanitarian efforts, the chairman of the German Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Roettgen, and Green Party politician Franziska Brantner urged the Bundestag to impose a new round of sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Aleppo, Spiegel Online reported. They also called for airlifts to the militant-held areas.