Publication Date : Friday 21 October 2016 12:46
Syria’s UN envoy says al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are preventing civilians from leaving the areas they control in the northwestern city of Aleppo.
Bashar al-Ja’afari made the remarks on Thursday during a UN General Assembly session, which had been held to address the situation in the beleaguered city and elsewhere across Syria.
The senior Syrian diplomat said Damascus has set up eight passageways for people to leave the city, six for civilians and eight for militants interested in government-offered amnesty or transfer to other areas.
However, the Takfiri terror outfits of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham are blocking the exit routes for civilians, he said.
The terrorists resort to mortar attacks and use civilians as human shields, said Ja’afari, adding that they had executed ۱۴ people earlier on Thursday for encouraging Aleppo’s residents to leave terrorist-controlled areas.
The terrorists have also threatened to burn down the houses of those who choose to flee, according to Ja’afari.
Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has been divided since ۲۰۱۲ between government forces in the west and foreign-backed terrorists in the east, making it a frontline battleground.
On Thursday, a unilateral Syrian ceasefire went into effect to allow civilians and foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants to leave eastern Aleppo.
However, reports said militants fired artillery shells at the humanitarian corridors opened by the army in two Aleppo areas. They accused the government of trying to empty the occupied parts of civilians so it could take over the entire city.
Ja’afari further regretted that Aleppo’s situation “started to become tense in August ۲۰۱۲, when Turkey opened its borders to terrorists and mercenaries, who were being paid by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and trained by the United States on Turkish soil.”
The envoy said Damascus condemned the “wrongful method” with which the country’s crisis was being addressed.
More than ۱,۷۰۰,۰۰۰ civilians have so far fled the terrorist-held areas to the government-controlled ones in the west, Ja'afari added.
The groups, which comprised ۲۷ outfits, with al-Nusra as their “spinal column,” had turned down the US-Russia-mediated ceasefire in September as well as a unilateral ceasefire, which the Syrian government brought into force earlier on Thursday to ensure the security of those wanting to get out of the city, Ja’afari concluded. Foreign godfathers ‘root of terror’
Also addressing the meeting, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, said foreign support for the terrorists, who have entered Syria on the back of a loose border control from Turkey, was the “root cause” of insecurity and humanitarian disasters in the Arab country.
He hailed the Syrian ceasefire, which has also won Moscow’s support, and urged evacuation of the wounded from eastern Aleppo.
The official, however, warned that the continued presence of terrorists and foreign militants in eastern Aleppo could lead to the re-eruption of violence at any moment.