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Aleppo in Final Stages as Opposition Looks for Safe Corridors - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut, Riyadh – The mood prevailing in Aleppo Monday hinted about the fall of the opposition after losing additional areas to Syrian regime forces. Practically, opposition factions now witness a fate similar to thousands of civilians trapped in about 10 kilometer square, seeking to find a safe corridor to withdraw from a city where regime forces have military succeeded.

Activist Baha’ al-Halabi, who is still present in an opposition-controlled area in Aleppo, said the city now witnesses a “historic massacre.”

Al-Halabi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Until now, Moscow refuses to secure a safe exit for opposition fighters and tens of thousands of civilians now sleeping in the streets and the entrances of buildings.”

The activist added: “People here wish to die every minute… to die quickly and avoid seeing death under the rubble. People mostly fear that regime forces and their allies enter the area.”

Al-Halabi said tens of people are trapped under the rubble while the injured lie in the streets. “There is no possibility to reach them due to the extensive and unprecedented shelling.”

Meanwhile, a source at the Free Syrian Army told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russians still refuse any solution that would secure a safe exit of those trapped in the eastern neighborhoods. “Instead, they insist on committing a genocide,” the FSA source said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that opposition fighters had now withdrawn from six neighborhoods in the city, their last holdouts in Aleppo.

The Observatory spoke about a “total collapse” in the ranks of opposition factions, adding that “unidentified bodies lie in the streets.”

Eyewitnesses told Sky News Arabia that Assad forces and Iranian militias were shooting civilians to death in the neighborhoods of Fardaous, Bustan al-Qasr and al-Zabdiya.

In the Mashhad neighborhood, residents fleeing the army advance crowded the streets, witnesses told AFP.

Facing the dire situation, the Saudi cabinet renewed on Monday its calls to convene an emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly, demanding the international body to assume responsibility to protect the Syrian people who are exposed to mass killings, siege and displacement in the ongoing aggression by the Syrian regime and its allies.

Also on Monday, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said: “Over the past 24 hours, the Syrian armed forces have liberated three quarters of the eastern part of Aleppo. Thus, over 95 percent of the territory of Aleppo is under government control. The total area of the part of the city’s east where the insurgents remain is no more than 10 square kilometers.”

The center added that more than 100,000 civilians including 40,000 children have been evacuated from Syria’s eastern Aleppo since the government begun its operation to liberate the city.