‘Corridors are staying open’
Russia: Aleppo evacuations go on
Russia’s Defence Ministry said yesterday it was keeping humanitarian corridors out of Syria’s Aleppo open following accusations by the UN humanitarian chief that warring parties were obstructing medical evacuations from the eastern, rebel-held districts of the city.
Spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said six humanitarian corridors out of eastern Aleppo continue to function “around the clock”.
Russian and Syrian warplanes, he added, “are not approaching the city and are not carrying out attacks”. A total of 48 women and children left eastern Aleppo the previous evening, Konashenkov added.
Those evacuations could not be independently confirmed. The UN has estimated that 275,000 people are trapped by the Syrian government’s siege of the rebel-held eastern parts of the contested city.
Fighting resumed in Aleppo over the weekend, with pro-government forces mounting several assaults along the city’s front lines after a three-day pause in military operations last week. The attacks have been accompanied by Russian air strikes.
But in contrast to the sweeping bombardment that devastated eastern Aleppo before the pause, clashes this week have been largely confined to the front lines, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that tracks the civil war in Syria.
Airstrikes on residential districts have decreased since last Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the local Civil Defence search-and-rescue group, when the Russian and Syrian militaries announced they would open safe corridors for civilians and militants out of the east. However, the spokesman, Ibrahim Al Haj, noted that shelling has not let up.
On Monday, pro-government forces seized a strategic hilltop overlooking the city’s southern outskirts.
275,000 people are trapped by the government’s siege of the rebel-held eastern parts of Aleppo