Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk with their weapons past rubble after they advanced on the southern side of the Castello road in Aleppo, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on July 28, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS
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Aid agencies called Friday on Syria's government to end its encirclement of rebel-held east Aleppo as a handful of civilians managed to use humanitarian corridors to flee the ruined city.Russia, a key ally of President Bashar Assad, Thursday announced the opening of humanitarian passages for civilians and surrendering fighters seeking to exit the city's rebel-held eastern neighborhoods.The Red Cross welcomed the corridors but said Russia and pro-government forces had an obligation to protect everyone in Aleppo, once Syria's economic hub and a battleground city seen as key in its five-year-old conflict. Only a few Aleppo residents were able to leave eastern neighborhoods through the passages before rebels prevented them from fleeing, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Government aircraft bombed eastern areas of Aleppo overnight, the Observatory said, without specifying casualties.
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