Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a stark warning Tuesday to Syrian civilians who remain in the city of Aleppo.
Russia, Syria and Iran are currently engaged in an all-out assault on the city, which has been a rebel stronghold for nearly five years. Reports indicate Syrian Arab Army forces reached the historic center of Aleppo Tuesday, as Russian planes continue to indiscriminately bomb targets in rebel areas. Russia and Assad justify their brutal tactics by labeling opposition groups as “terrorists,” routinely portraying them in the same vein as the Islamic State.
“If somebody refuses to leave [Aleppo] on good terms, he will be eliminated as I understand. There is no other way out,” Lavrov declared. Lavrov’s statement comes after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo.
Humanitarian organizations estimate nearly 100,000 civilians remain in rebel-controlled areas, with no access to food or medical aid. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights estimates 80,000 people have fled the carnage, with approximately 730 killed in the last three weeks.
Syrian and Russian planes are reportedly dropping leaflets over the city urging residents to flee along designated humanitarian corridors or face “annihilation.” UN humanitarian affairs chief Stephen O’Brien previously warned that Aleppo will become “one giant graveyard” if drastic action is not taken to halt the assault.
Syrian rebels recognize their dire straits and offered a last-minute truce to Russia and the Assad regime. The Assad regime is unlikely to to agree to the truce, as Assad has now retaken nearly 70 percent of the entire city of Aleppo.
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