Syrian Rebels Open Fire to Block Aleppo Civilians Fleeing

10 Manage to Escape Amid Gunfire, But Hundreds of Others Turn Back

Reports of the rebels in the Nusra Front-dominated eastern portion of Aleppo overtly blocking civilian evacuation are picking up this week, with new reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirming that the rebels opened fire on the crossing out of the city to keep the civilians from leaving.

10 civilians actually managed to make it out of the Bustan al-Basha District through the passage, despite the heavy fire, the first civilians to get out of the area in some time. Hundreds of other civilians who were trying to escape the same way were forced to turn back, however.

Reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights began emerging yesterday of civilians being blocked from fleeing eastern Aleppo, though the rebels continue to insist this is a lie, and the real reason no one is fleeing is that they don’t trust Russia.

The denial is appearing less credible all the time, with reports that civilians are running out of food and many are deciding that it’s worth the risk to try to flee the rebel neighborhoods. The rebels appear keenly aware that the presence of so many civilians in their territory is a lot of why the international community criticizes airstrikes against them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.