‘Cor­ri­dors are stay­ing open’

Rus­sia: Aleppo evac­u­a­tions go on

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

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

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