A general view shows Aleppo's historic citadel, controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad, as seen from a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
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Aid agencies urged Syria's government to end the siege of rebel-held east Aleppo as residents cowered indoors Friday afraid to use what some described as "death corridors" to flee the city.Russia, a key ally of President Bashar Assad, announced Thursday the opening of humanitarian passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city's rebel-held eastern neighborhoods. By Friday only a few Aleppo residents had left eastern areas through one passage but others wishing to flee were prevented by rebels, said the head of the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory said government aircraft bombed eastern areas of Aleppo overnight.On Friday, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura urged Russia to let the United Nations take charge of the corridors as a reassurance to the beleaguered population. Aid agencies and analysts said the humanitarian corridors must be exploited to send desperately needed supplies to the besieged areas.Losing Aleppo would be a major blow for the armed opposition and could signal a turning point in the five-year conflict, analysts say.
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