50,000 people flee east Aleppo as Syrian regime advances

50,000 people flee east Aleppo as Syrian regime advances
Pro-government forces, including Shia militias from across the Middle East, have continued their push to reclaim rebel-held east Aleppo, with many warning that the siege might not last until Christmas.
2 min read
30 November, 2016
Refugees fleeing by bus through the Kurdish-controlled district of Sheikh Maqsud [AFP]
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled fighting in east Aleppo as government forces, backed by Shia militias from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq continue to push through rebel defences.

Pro-rebel forces captured large parts of rebel-held areas in the last 24 hours, causing tens of thousands of refugees to flee the fighting.

"Over 50,000 people have fled east Aleppo in the latest offensive," Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) told The New Arab.

Reuters reports that the Syrian regime is attempting to clear rebels and fighters from Aleppo before Donald Trump takes office as the new president of the United States in January.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Syrian official told Reuters that fighting was now expected to become more intense as fighters were forced into ever more densely populated areas.

According to the SOHR, airstrikes in the last 24 hours were targeted on the neighbourhoods of Layramon, Dahr al-Abd Rabah, Qubtan al-Jabal, and Dara Azza.

Syria's Local Co-ordinating Committees (LCC) reports that 54 people were killed in hand-to-hand fighting in Aleppo on Tuesday.

If the Syrian regime succeeds in recapturing the rebel-held east of Aleppo, it would be the largest defeat for rebels since 2012.

Syria's Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, reported on Sunday that supplies were running out for civilians in east Aleppo and that rebels might be defeated by Christmas.

"You cannot imagine how the situation is," said Raed Al Saleh, a spokesperson for the White Helmets.

The Syrian civil war has been on-going for almost six years at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.