Pro-government forces tightened their grip around the besieged city where the local governor said safe corridors were opened for civilians to escape the rebel-held areas.
According to reports, a quarter of a million civilians still live in Aleppo’s opposition-controlled eastern neighborhoods, effectively under siege since President Bashar Assad’s army and allied militia’s, including the Lebanese group Hezbollah, cut off the last road into the rebel district in early July.
Following the regime’s successful siege, Russia announced it would start a large-scale humanitarian operation together with the Syrian government to help civilians in Aleppo; a move the United Nations defined as inadequate, urging Moscow to transfer the responsibility of the corridors to humanitarian bodies. “Our suggestion is to Russia to actually leave the corridors being established at their initiative to us. The UN and the humanitarian partners, as you know, know what to do. They have an experience, that is our job. Bringing humanitarian supplies and assistance to civilians wherever they decide to be voluntarily is exactly why the UN is there for.” He added, “Aleppo…The situation is extremely serious no doubt. There is probably, we have heard, two to three weeks of supply, and in view of the bombing of the warehouses, medical facilities, bakeries, and the need of treating wounded people when in fact facilities, medical facilities have been hit, the humanitarian situation is getting more and more concerning. The city is de facto besieged because it is almost militarily completely encircled. The clock is therefore ticking; there is no doubt about that,” UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said.
De Mistura announced earlier this week that he aimed to restart the Syria peace talks during the month of August and urged both Washington and Moscow to take concrete steps forward, which is imperative to create a viable basis for a tangible framework. De Mistura, speaking after a meeting with the US Envoy to Syria Michael Ratney and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, said the United States and Russia both needed to do more work on the matter in the coming days to make a potential meeting possible. “We are all awaiting and urging the two co-chairs, which means Russia and the US, to expedite their own discussions on how to reduce violence along the lines of their own discussions in Moscow and then in Laos, between particularly Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry,” De Mistura said.