Residents Flee Aleppo on Ninth Day of Bombardment

AFP reports dozens of families fleeing their homes in the eastern Bustan al-Qasr district following heavy bombardment in recent days

Dozens of residents from districts under opposition control in the city of Aleppo fled their homes on Saturday toward safer areas out of fear of the continuing air bombardment on the city for the ninth day in a row. Meanwhile, a truce went into effect between regime forces and militant factions in the Damascus countryside and Lattakia countryside in accordance with the Russian-American deal.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 20 air raids had been carried out on areas under the control of opposition fighters in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria on Saturday, the ninth day in a row of attacks and reciprocal bombardment which has killed about 250 civilians.

The Observatory did not immediately say if it had been Russian or Syrian aircraft that carried out the raids, but pointed out that bombardment carried out by government forces in areas under opposition control in the city since April 22 had killed 140 people, including 19 children. It added that bombardment by the opposition on areas under government control throughout the same period had killed 96 people, including 21 children.

In the eastern districts under the control of militant factions in Aleppo, an Agence France Presse correspondent witnessed dozens of families fleeing their homes in the Bustan al-Qasr district, which has been subjected to heavy bombardment in recent days.

Some residents confirmed they were fleeing to other, safer areas in the city, while others preferred to depart entirely on the Castello road, the residents’ one entry point to the eastern districts and leading to the west of the country.

While taking some items from his house to his car in Bustan al-Qasr in preparation for his departure, Abu Mohamed told AFP: “The situation is unbearable.” Not one customer has entered Abu Mohamed’s household appliances shop for a week because of the raids, and one of his five children suffered a health relapse because of intense fear during the raids. Abu Mohamed decided to flee to the western Idleb province by the Castello highway which has also been hit by air strikes over the past few days.

Aleppo city has been divided since 2012 between eastern districts controlled by militant factions and the other western areas under regime control. About 750,000 people live in the western districts, and about 200,000 in the eastern side and about 100,000 in the majority Kurdish areas.

Since April 22, Aleppo has witnessed a military escalation between regime forces and militant factions. Regime warplanes have struck the eastern districts, which have responded by bombarding the western districts with rockets and gas cylinders. The eastern districts of the city started on Saturday to empty completely of residents. Stores are closed and residents have preferred to stay in their homes. Some have chosen to go into their cellars, which are safer. If one finds himself forced to go into the streets, he keeps his head raised toward the sky to monitor the warplanes out of fear of bombardment, according to the AFP correspondent.

The western districts have in turn witnessed, according to the Observatory, “Calm since Saturday morning interspersed with the falling of shells launched by Islamist and militant factions on Al-Khalidiyeh and Al-Nil Street.”

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.

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