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Rebels prevent 100 families from leaving eastern Aleppo

Xinhua, November 24, 2016 Adjust font size:

Rebels on Wednesday prevented as many as 100 families from leaving rebel-held areas in Syria's northern city of Aleppo, a monitor group reported.

The rebels in the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood in the rebel-held part, east of Aleppo city, prevented the families from leaving for the Kurdish-controlled Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian government has repeatedly accused the rebels of preventing the civilians from leaving eastern Aleppo to government-controlled western areas.

Still, state news agency SANA said a few families managed to leave eastern Aleppo over the past few days, adding that local authorities have taken care of them.

The Syrian army renewed calls on rebels to allow the civilians to leave eastern Aleppo and urged them personally to hand over their weapons and surrender to the government forces.

Syrian aircrafts dropped leaflets on Tuesday and mobile operators sent sms messages to the rebels in eastern Aleppo, urging them to take advantage of a presidential pardon if they surrendered.

One of the text messages even extended an invitation to the rebels to leave eastern Aleppo and attend a football game due on Friday in the Hamadaniyeh stadium in Aleppo, a source in the city told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, the Observatory said that Syrian jets and artillery targeted eastern Aleppo on Wednesday, spelling no further details on causalities.

In the northern countryside of Aleppo, where another kind of battle is going on, the UK-based watchdog group said Turkish shelling on a town controlled by the Kurdish-led rebels left many wounded civilians including children.

It said the Turkish shelling targeted the villages of Sheikh Naser and Sobrian Qaribatain in the western countryside of the town of Manbej, which is controlled by the Kurdish-backed Manbej Military Council.

Turkey has recently stepped up its support to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels in a push aimed at stripping the Islamic State (IS) group on the key city of al-Baab in the northern countryside of Aleppo and to dislodge the Kurdish-led militia from the town of Manbej in northern Aleppo.

Ankara's primary aim is to cut the road before the growing influence of the Kurdish groups in northern Syria by pushing the FSA to fill the voids left after dislodging IS from key areas near the Syrian-Turkish borders.

Turkey supports the FSA with airstrikes and artillery fire.

While the Syrian government is busy fighting the rebels in eastern Aleppo, but it deemed the Turkish intervention in Syria as a military occupation that demands a strong response.

UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, proposed recently the evacuation of the ultra-radical groups from eastern Aleppo, while other rebel groups can maintain a local administration in their areas.

However, the Syrian government rejected the proposal, and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem made it clear that the Syrian administration has taken a decision for retaking all of Aleppo back.

For months, the Syrian government and Russia have been urging rebels to leave Aleppo, offering them safe passages to other rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The rebels, however, turned down all offers, which has resulted in intensified violence. Endit