BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria’s army has said that anybody who remains in the city of Aleppo after offering those who wish to leave an opportunity to do so would face their “inevitable fate”.
A statement issued late on Wednesday said the army had cut off insurgents’ supply lines into the northern city and that it had accurate information about the location of all their positions and arms stores. It urged all fighters there to lay down their arms and leave.
Earlier on Wednesday, the army said it was reducing its air strikes and shelling of rebel-held eastern Aleppo to alleviate the humanitarian situation and allow people to depart for safer areas if they wanted to do so.
The army, backed by Shi‘ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Russia’s air force, began an offensive against eastern Aleppo on Sept. 19 after the collapse of a week-long truce. The offensive began with one of the war’s most intense bombardments.
The scale of destruction in Aleppo since the offensive began has prompted mounting international concern and caused the United States to break talks with Russia on attempting to renew a ceasefire.
The army and its allies have made some territorial gains in the northern part of Aleppo since the offensive began and have also opened fronts in the city centre and in the south.
Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Paul Tait