Syrian pro-government forces maneuver a tank in the newly retaken area of Sahat al-Melh and Qasr al-Adly in Aleppo's Old City on Dec. 8, 2016. / AFP / GEORGE OURFALIAN
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Years of siege conditions mean the citizens living in rebel-held parts of Aleppo are accustomed to danger, fear and tragedy."But there's no way out, and the bombardment is unbearable ... We're very scared -- we heard that yesterday the regime arrested every youth they found" in areas the army recaptured, Abu Youssef said.A neighbor who tried to leave for a government-held area a week ago had not been heard from since, he said.Rebels called for a truce and civilian evacuations, but to areas of opposition control such as the northern Aleppo countryside, amid fears the government would immediately arrest men crossing from rebel-held territory.Many people have streamed from areas rebels have left and are crammed into abandoned homes while air raids and shellfire fall around them, hoping to escape before Aleppo is retaken.Around 18,000 had fled to government-held areas, the U.N. said last week.Several hundred people have been killed in Syrian and Russian bombardments of rebel areas, including hospitals, in recent weeks, and in insurgent shelling of government areas, according to the Observatory.
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