Syria Tightens Aleppo Siege, Calls on Rebels to Surrender

Army Tells Residents of Safe Passages to Flee Rebel Districts

by Jason Ditz, July 26, 2016

Weeks after the rebel-held half of Syria’s Aleppo lost Castello Road, the last supply road into their part of the city, Syrian forces are continuing to tighten the siege around the districts, calling on the rebel factions within the areas to voluntarily surrender.

That’s unlikely for a lot of reasons. One of the largest factions within Aleppo, al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, clearly is unwilling to surrender, and is hoping to hold off for another counterattack from al-Qaeda fighters in the surrounding area. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction within Aleppo has seen its entire leadership “resign,” and reportedly flee into Turkey, so there is nobody left in a leadership position to agree to surrender in their case, even if they were so inclined.

Calls for surrender are fairly common across the Syrian Civil War, and rarely amount to anything. A few times, however, such offers led to negotiated withdrawals from contested territory, though even that is unlikely with al-Qaeda involved.

Either way, Syria seems to be keen to get the civilians out of the rebel-held half of the city, with the General Army Command sending text messages to civilians in rebel Aleppo informing them of the locations of several safe passage areas to leave the city, and of makeshift refugee centers they can go to.

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