Free Syrian Army rebel groups in Aleppo have said that the primary aim of the ongoing battle in the city was “defending civilians,” and expressed their readiness to cooperate fully with the United Nations to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid to all areas of Aleppo.
In a statement, the groups clarified a number of points, including that the “victory” they had recently achieved in Aleppo was the result of a unified effort and a closing of ranks, and was not the result of one or two group’s actions. In fact, nearly every faction operating in northern Syria participated.
The statement also said that the primary aim of the battle of Aleppo was “defending civilians of all religions and sects.”
The statement went on to deny that “the groups targeted civilians or put them under siege as a tool of war,” adding that “all civilians in the areas under regime control are [our] family, and are hostages who must be freed.”
The groups issued a call to the people of Aleppo, advising them to “keep away from regime positions and concentrations.” It said that anyone who was not carrying arms and fighting with the regime was “safe,” and that the door for repentance was open to all soldiers, and others misled by the regime, if they defected and turned themselves and their weapons over to the “revolutionaries.”
This came after Jaish al-Fatah announced on Sunday that its coming battle was for control over all of Aleppo city, a week after the start of the battle to “break the siege” on the city. The head of the alliance said that the full control of the groups over the city of Aleppo was just “a matter of time.”
On Saturday, opposition factions were able to break the siege of the eastern districts that the regime had encircled for nearly two weeks, cutting off the main supply route for the government and increasing the likelihood that the government-controlled western part could fall under siege.
The groups had begun, according to the statement, “their preparations for full cooperation with United Nations teams and international humanitarian organizations to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid to all areas of the city in need,” stressing its “full compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law in all its aspects.”
This came after the Russian military command announced a daily three-hour truce to deliver aid to Aleppo city, beginning on Thursday. The United Nations said that this was “not sufficient,” and called for a 48-hour truce to meet all the city’s humanitarian needs.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.