(CNN) – The UN’s special envoy to Syria says the creation of humanitarian corridors out of Aleppo should be left to the UN. The city has been devastated by ongoing battles between rebels and government forces. Russia and Syria have proposed safe passage routes for civilians and UN-armed fighters.
The UN says it has the expertise to carry out the task and it wants guarantees on the protection of civilians. This is what remains of much of Aleppo, once Syria’s must populous city now an apocalyptic moonscape.
This video was released by the Syrian army as it celebrates cutting off rebel forces in the eastern part of the city. Leaflets have been dropped on the besieged areas, warning residents to leave. Syria’s president Assad says he will offer amnesty to armed rebels who surrender.
Russia claims humanitarian corridors will be opened but after months of relentless bombardment, many are too afraid to leave their homes and recent history has taught people here to be highly suspicious of government promises.
John Kirby, U.S. State Dept. Spokesman said, “What needs to happen is the innocent people of Aleppo should be able to stay in their homes, safely, and to receive the humanitarian access which Russia and the regime have agreed, in principle have agreed, certainly according to the UN Security Council resolution, to provide.”
We made the dangerous drive into rebel-held Aleppo just a few months ago berms of earth flanked the road to protect the way from enemy fire.
We now have to drive extremely quickly along this portion of the road because on one side you have the regime and on the other side you have Kurdish fighters who are now fighting against rebel forces and there are snipers all around here but this is the only road now to get into Aleppo.
That road is now completely cut off leaving some 300,000 people trapped. The UN paints a grim picture of life inside. Prices are up as much as 300%. Food will run out within weeks.
Staffan De Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria said, “The clock is ticking for the Aleppo population, the commodities are sufficient in eastern Aleppo for a maximum of three weeks.”
For most here, the memory of the siege of homs is fresh in their minds. Government forces cut off all food and supplies as they continued to bombard the city for years.
A siege in Aleppo would likely be even longer and uglier, though it’s hard to imagine how much uglier it can get.