A Syrian monitoring group alleged Tuesday that rebels are preventing dozens of families from fleeing eastern Aleppo as Russian backed government forces intensify their bombardment of the besieged quarter.
Such claims are difficult to verify and often distorted owing to the propaganda value of the matter.
Syrian and Russian state media maintain that rebels are holding the enclave's 275,000 remaining inhabitants hostage to use as human shields.
Opposition outlets on the other hand want to show that civilians will never accept returning to the government's heavyhanded rule
A resident of Aleppo's frontline Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood corroborated the report by the Britainbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which maintains a network of contacts among both government and antigovernment institutions.
Hajj Mohammed alJasim told The Associated Press his uncles' families were trying to cross from the Bustan alBasha neighborhood in the east to the predominantly Kurdish enclave of Sheikh Maqsoud.
"They've wanted to cross for a while because the circumstances have become very difficult," said alJasim, who confirmed his location near the alRiz crossing via
phone location services.
He said his relatives told him they were prepared to cross during the day but were advised by three rebel groups to wait until dark.
"Then in the evening, (the rebels) began to fire at the crossing" to prevent passage, alJasim said. He said about fifty families were waiting to cross.
The autonomous Kurdish defense forces, the YPG, have promised housing in Sheikh Maqsoud to any families who cross, or secure passage on to opposition held
Azaz or Kurdish held Afrin, two towns north of Aleppo, according to the alJasim.
The Observatory reported 100 families are waiting to cross, while Ahmad Hiso Araj, a political official for the YPG aligned Syrian Democratic Forces, said 250
civilians were prepared to go. He said they were communicating with their relatives in Sheikh Maqsoud to evacuate Bustan alBasha.
The Syrian army declaration read on State TV also comes as the pace of government warnings to the residents of the besieged rebelheld part of eastern
Aleppo city rises. An announcement Tuesday urged armed opposition groups to allow civilians to exit the besieged enclave through government designated
corridors. Another urged residents to cooperate with government forces. A third called on residents to avoid going out in the streets except in "dire need" and to stay
clear of areas where armed groups operate