Russia announces four more escape routes from Syrian Aleppo

AFP , Saturday 30 Jul 2016

Russia's defence ministry on Saturday announced that four additional "humanitarian corridors" will be opened from Syria's besieged Aleppo, adding that 169 civilians have been able to get out so far.

"Four humanitarian corridors are being opened, in addition to those prepared earlier for the exit of civilians from Aleppo neighbourhoods controlled by militants," a defence ministry statement said.

Three corridors had already begun working in the area, it said.

"Since the start of the humanitarian operation... 169 civilians have left the neighbourhoods controlled by illegal armed groups through the exit points," it added.

Sixty-nine rebels have laid down arms and 59 people received medical treatment, according to the statement.

The crossings, some of which were shown on Syrian television, were the first major movement of people from the besieged districts of the city after Moscow announced Thursday that it would open the passages.

The defence ministry said that 85 civilians left the eastern parts of Aleppo Friday, with 52 more on Saturday. It added that the Syrian government has "prepared six humanitarian aid centres which can accomodate three thousand people."

No aid has entered east Aleppo for weeks, and international agencies have warned that residents there risk starvation.

Syria's opposition has dismissed the humanitarian corridors initiative as a ploy and part of the government's bid to recapture all of Aleppo city.

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