Russian Federation hopes Syria's Aleppo situation can be resolved by end of 2016

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02 December, 2016

The Observatory said more than 50,000 out of an estimated quarter-million inhabitants have been displaced by attacks on rebel-held eastern Aleppo over the past 4 days. He said numerous fleeing civilians fear revenge attacks, amid reports of arrests from people living in government-held areas.

3,179 people, including 1,519 children - among them 138 newborn babies - have left eastern Aleppo through the "humanitarian corridors" set up by Syrian government forces, the Russian Reconciliation Center also noted on Monday.

The Syrian government offensive to recapture rebel-held Aleppo sparked global alarm on Tuesday, with the United Nations saying almost 16,000 people had fled the assault and more could follow.

The Syrian government pushed its way into the 45-square kilometer (17 square miles) rebel-held enclave over the weekend, making its first territorial gain in the area seized by the opposition fighters since 2012.

A series of artillery rounds lobbed Wednesday on Syria's eastern Aleppo district killed 26 civilians, including seven children, as they fled a government ground offensive in the besieged enclave.

Aleppo is seen as a vital strategic prize for the Syrian government as it is the last city still holding out against President Assad's regime and it controls trade and military supply routes to Turkey.

The monitor said at least 10 civilians were killed in a strike in the Bab al-Nayrab district on Tuesday and reported ongoing clashes in the Shaar and Tariq al-Bab neighbourhoods.

The official, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, denied any arbitrary detentions or revenge attacks took place during the influx of displaced, dismissing such reports as a distraction from his troops' swift success in penetrating rebel defenses. The Observatory added that Iraqi militia fighters were playing a central role in the government's advance from the south.

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During Prime Minister's Questions, SNP deputy Angus Robertson described the situation in Aleppo as "descending into hell", adding it could constitute the biggest massacres of civilians since the Second World War. Images published by the Civil Defense showed bodies strewn on a debris-filled road in an attack they It blamed on government forces.

Many are reported to have fled to safer ground in areas under government or Kurdish control.

Residents have been reduced to scavenging for food, hospitals are not functioning after repeated military strikes and an estimated 25,000 people have taken risky escape routes out of eastern Aleppo since Saturday alone, O'Brien said.

A local activist told Amnesty International that families living in the area were unable to escape when government forces advanced and that many fear retaliation.

The senior military official said the "human flood" of the displaced from eastern Aleppo requires organization and precision to provide security those fleeing and also to ensure no "sleeper cells" or suicide attackers were among them.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to try to stop the fighting in Aleppo and bring in humanitarian aid.

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Stephen O'Brien warned that eastern Aleppo was being turned into "one giant graveyard", as the Syrian regime and Russian forces were overrunning the rebel-held area.


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