Hun­dreds flee to gov­ern­ment-held dis­tricts in Syria’s Aleppo

Malta Independent - - SYRIA CRISIS -

Hun­dreds of peo­ple in Syria’s Aleppo have fled to ar­eas un­der gov­ern­ment con­trol, a mon­i­tor­ing group said yes­ter­day, as pro­gov­ern­ment forces press on with an as­sault that has laid waste to the city’s op­po­si­tion neigh­bour­hoods.

The Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said around 400 evac­uees sought refuge in the Masaken Hanano neigh­bour­hood, cap­tured by pro-gov­ern­ment forces Satur­day, and that an ad­di­tional 30 fam­i­lies fled to Sheikh Maq­soud, which is un­der Kur­dish con­trol.

Syr­ian state me­dia re­ported that hun­dreds of fam­i­lies had va­cated ar­eas un­der rebel con­trol.

Syr­ian state TV broad­cast a video Satur­day show­ing a teary re­union be­tween a sol­dier and his fam­ily af­ter nearly five years apart, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. It said the fam­ily had been trapped in Masaken Hanano.

The Le­banese Al-Ma­nar TV chan­nel re­ported from the neigh­bour­hood yes­ter­day morn­ing, show­ing work­ers and sol­diers clear­ing de­bris against a back­drop of bombed-out build­ings on both sides of a wide av­enue. AlMa­nar is op­er­ated by Hezbol­lah, the Le­banese mil­i­tant group aligned with the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment.

Aleppo used to be Syria’s largest city and com­merce cap­i­tal be­fore its neigh­bour­hoods were dev­as­tated by the coun­try’s more than five-year-long civil war.

An es­ti­mated 275,000 peo­ple are trapped in wretched con­di­tions in the city’s rebel-held east­ern dis­tricts since the gov­ern­ment sealed its siege of the en­clave in late Au­gust. Food sup­plies are run­ning per­ilously low, the UN warned Thurs­day, and a re­lent­less air as­sault by gov­ern­ment forces has dam­aged or de­stroyed ev­ery hospi­tal in the area.

The UN’s child agency warned yes­ter­day that nearly 500,000 chil­dren were now liv­ing un­der siege in Syria, cut off from food and med­i­cal aid, mostly in ar­eas un­der gov­ern­ment con­trol. That fig­ure has dou­bled in less than a year.

Many are now spend­ing their days un­der­ground, as hos­pi­tals, schools and homes re­main vul­ner­a­ble to aerial bom­bard­ment.

“Chil­dren are be­ing killed and in­jured, too afraid to go to school or even play, sur­viv­ing with lit­tle food and hardly any medicine,” said UNICEF Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor An­thony Lake. “This is no way to live — and too many are dy­ing.”

Ac­tivists also re­ported yes­ter­day tens of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties from a pre­sumed gov­ern­ment or Rus­sian airstrike on a vil­lage out­side Aleppo.

The Lo­cal Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tees ac­tivist net­work in Syria re­ported 15 civil­ians killed in a Rus­sian airstrike on the vil­lage of An­jara, con­trolled by the op­po­si­tion in the western Aleppo coun­try­side, and tens of others wounded. Ac­tivists usu­ally iden­tify planes by their sil­hou­ettes and home base.

The Bri­tain-based Ob­ser­va­tory said the strike was ac­com­pa­nied by raids on other op­po­si­tion­held vil­lages in the Aleppo coun­try­side.

Mean­while, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency re­ported yes­ter­day that the Is­lamic State group used chem­i­cal weapons against Turk­ish-backed Syr­ian op­po­si­tion fight­ers in north­ern Syria, wound­ing 22. The re­port cited a state­ment by the chief of gen­eral staff’s of­fice. The re­port could not be im­me­di­ately ver­i­fied in­de­pen­dently.

In this file photo pro­vided by the Syr­ian Civil De­fense group known as the White Hel­mets, res­i­dents sit amongst rub­ble in rebel-held east­ern Aleppo, Syria

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.