Tens of thousands of Syrians fled an intensifying Russian assault around Aleppo on Friday, and aid workers said they feared the major city could soon fall under a full government siege. Assad and Putin Goals Are to Starve Aleppo, Not Battle ISIS. Obama has unleashed the Putin savagery unto innocent civilians and both should be held accountable by the international community.
The government assault around Aleppo, and advances in the south and northwest, helped to torpedo Geneva peace talks this week. Russia’s intervention has tipped the war psychopath Baschar al-Assad’s way, reversing gains rebels made last year.
The last two days saw government troops and their Lebanese and Iranian allies fully encircle the countryside north of Aleppo and cut off the main supply route linking the city – Syria’s largest before the war – to Turkey. Ankara said it suspected the aim was to starve the population into submission.
Aleppo would be the biggest strategic prize in years for Assad’s government in a conflict that has killed at least 250,000 people and driven 11 million from their homes.
Video footage showed thousands of people massing at the Bab al-Salam crossing on the Turkish border. Men carried luggage on their heads, and the elderly and those unable to walk were brought in wheelchairs. Women sat on the side of the road holding babies and waiting to be allowed into Turkey.
Rights group Amnesty International urged Turkey to let in those fleeing the latest violence, after reports the border remained closed.
“It feels like a siege of Aleppo is about to begin,” said David Evans, Middle East program director for the U.S. aid agency Mercy Corps, which said the most direct humanitarian route to Aleppo had been severed.
“The situation in Aleppo is a humanitarian catastrophe,” said an opposition spokesman still in Geneva after the ill-fated peace talks. “The international community must take urgent, concrete steps to address it.”
NON-STOP RUSSIAN AIR STRIKES
“The Russian (air) cover continues night and day, there were more than 250 air strikes on this area in one day,” Hassan Haj Ali, head of Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, a rebel group fighting in northwest Syria, told Reuters.
“The regime is now trying to expand the area it has taken control of,” he added. “Now the northern countryside (of Aleppo) is totally encircled, and the humanitarian situation is very difficult.”
Syrian state TV and a monitoring group said the army and its allies had seized the town of Ratyan north of Aleppo. Haj Ali said the town had not yet fallen, but that there were “very heavy battles”.
Reuters contributed to this article.