The Russian military said today it had helped more than 8,000 Syrian citizens flee parts of eastern Aleppo still controlled by the opposition in the last 24 hours, including almost 3,000 children.
The Russian military said in a statement that 14 “rebels” had also surrendered to Syrian government forces, laying down their weapons and crossing into western Aleppo. They had all been pardoned, it said.
However, this stands in stark contrast to the United Nation’s comments that hundreds of civilians attempting to flee the violence in east Aleppo had possibly been abducted by the Assad regime. The UN said that it feared for their lives, considering the Syrian regime’s history of brutal torture and use of death squads.
Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday as saying that the Assad regime army, which has captured territory including Aleppo’s historic Old City in recent days, had halted military activity to let civilians leave opposition-held territory.
However, Reuters reporters in a government-held part of the city said bombardment could still be heard after his remarks were published.
Washington said it had no confirmation that the army had ceased fire, and civilians living in besieged areas confirmed that the bombardment had not ceased at all. Footage was also later released showing corpses strewn all over the streets of opposition-held areas, killed by regime bombardment.
The Russian defence ministry said its forces were working hard to de-mine areas in eastern Aleppo which Syrian government forces had captured from the anti-Assad regime opposition forces.