Militant-Held Areas of Aleppo “Completely Besieged”

Militant-Held Areas of Aleppo “Completely Besieged”Militant-Held Areas of Aleppo “Completely Besieged”

Militant-controlled parts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo came under total siege on Sunday, after government forces seized the only road leading into the area.

“The eastern neighborhoods are now completely besieged,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP on Sunday.

He said Syrian forces descended on the strategic Castello Road route and completely cut it.

Castello Road is the only highway leading into and out of the militant-held parts of Aleppo. Analysts say its capture has left hundreds of thousands of people trapped, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis, DW reported.

The road had been used by militants, but also by shopkeepers bringing in produce for residents and by villagers visiting relatives in the city.

AFP reported that its capture was confirmed by a militant who said: “The army has reached the road and even arrested a group of civilians who were walking there.”

An Aleppo-based activist told AP that the city is being subjected to intense shelling and airstrikes.

Another activist Bahaa al-Halaby also said that as of Sunday, food and medical supplies will not be able to reach militant-held parts of the city and seriously wounded people could not be evacuated for medical treatment.

Although Aleppo has not been declared as besieged by the United Nations, residents have complained of food shortages and skyrocketing prices. Shopkeepers have begun rationing their products and there have been long queues outside bakeries.

The capture of Castello Road marks the biggest success for the government in Aleppo since militants seized parts of the northern city in the summer of 2012. The government controls the west, while the east is under militant command.

Earlier this year, the government launched a wide offensive that captured much of the city’s northern outskirts. Last month, the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group withdrew from the area after a month-long siege of militant-held areas.