Only a few residents of Syria’s Aleppo were able to leave encircled opposition-held districts through humanitarian corridors before rebels prevented them from fleeing, a monitor said Friday.
Russia, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, on Thursday announced the opening of aid passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city’s rebel-held eastern neighbourhoods.
Entrances to the corridors were effectively shut in rebel areas inside the city on Friday, the Observatory said.
The other end of the passages, in government-held territory, were open however, according to the monitor, which relies of a wide network of sources inside Syria for its information.
Since they were established “around 12 people managed to use the Bustan al-Qasr corridor before rebel groups reinforced security measures and prevented families from approaching the corridors,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Syria’s opposition High Negotiations Committee on Thursday criticised the corridors, saying Russia and the Syrian government aimed to “alter Aleppo’s demographics and ensure forced displacement”.
Pro-government forces have surrounded Aleppo’s eastern districts since July 17.
Analysts say that losing Aleppo would be a major blow for the armed opposition and could signal a turning point in the conflict.
Syria’s five-year war has killed more than 280,000 people and displaced millions.