Russia might start bombing Aleppo after deadline for rebels to leave Syrian City

By @vitthernandez on
Aleppo Rebels & Residents
A rebel fighter gestures with a girl who fled areas of conflict while they ride a pick-up truck in Dahiyet al-Assad, west Aleppo city, Syria October 30, 2016. Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

Russia and the Syrian Army gave rebels in Aleppo until Friday evening to peacefully leave the war-torn city before they start air bombing the area. The rebels could leave the city unharmed and bring with them their small arms between 9 am and 7 pm on Nov 4 using two special corridors.

However, rebels have turned down Russia’s call, likely triggering the start of air strikes by Russia which could further lead to western powers launching a counter offensive and a possible global war. Zakaria Malahifji, from the Fastiqim rebel group, says, “This is completely out of the question. We will never give up the city of Aleppo to the Russians and we won’t surrender,” Reuters quotes.

Malahifji doubts the so-called corridors are real safe passages since he questions the government’s sincerity. Civilians, the sick and wounded Aleppo residents have six different corridors to use, but like the rebels, many of them refuse to leave for fear of being ambushed while passing through the corridors.

Air attacks on Aleppo has been held since Oct 18 after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a ceasefire and extended it until Nov 4. But despite the ceasefire, Russian warships are on their way to the region and upon arrival would wait for Putin’s go signal to fire missiles after Nov 4.

Despite 48 percent of Russians fearing the Syrian crisis could erupt in a global war, many support Putin’s move. Russia defends the bombing of schools, hospitals and civilians in Aleppo. Moscow says it is not different from the US-backed offense on Mosul.

However, US officials reject the comparison. John Kirby, spokesman of the State Department, stresses the Mosul and Aleppo bombings are radically different, LA Times reports. “Any comparison is absolutely insulting,” Kirby stresses.

He points out that Mosul has been “under the jackboot” of Islamic State for two years, while Aleppo’s moderate opposition group outnumbered the Al Qaeda-linked fighters. Kirby adds the US has taken extensive precautions to avoid hitting civilians and works closely with UN agencies to help Mosul residents who managed to escape the battle.

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