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Syria: exodus continues from embattled Aleppo

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Syria: exodus continues from embattled Aleppo

Carrying what they can, thousands of people are continuing to flee from their homes in the embattled eastern neighbourhoods of the city of Aleppo in Syria.

What Russia says

The Russian Defence Ministry, quoted by the Interfax news agency, says more than 20,000 civilians have left eastern Aleppo on Saturday.

The Ministry also says more than 1,200 rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have laid down their arms.

“People are leaving through humanitarian corridors in a continuous flow into the part of the city that is controlled by the Syrian government,” Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov is quoted as saying by Interfax.

“93% of the city of Aleppo is today under the control of the Syrian authorities,” Donashenkov added.

“We appeal to those who, over the last few months, have said they are ready to send humanitarian aid to Aleppo.”

“50,000 people have left eastern Aleppo in the last two days and they are in need of that humanitarian aid.”

Konashenkov added that, after the removal of civilians was completed, Syrian government forces would continue to “liberate” eastern Aleppo.

Backed by Russia and other allies, Syrian forces have taken control of nearly all of the rebel enclave in the eastern neighbourhoods.

The Syrian government now controls 93 percent of Aleppo, according to Russian news agencies who are quoting the Russian Defence Ministry.

What the UN says

The UN says it is “gravely concerned” about the safety of civilians in Aleppo.

In a statement on Friday, the organisation estimates there may be around 100,000 civilians in areas of Aleppo under opposition control in eastern Aleppo.

A further 30,000 are believed to have fled to areas under government control.

Read the UN’s statement here