At least 17 people were killed by heavy gunfire and about a dozen more were rounded up and executed after hundreds of civilians trying to leave eastern Aleppo protested against the rebel blockade of exit routes, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Some 500 civilians took part in several protests in the rebel-occupied eastern part of Aleppo on Thursday, and at least 200 of them were trying to reach the Syrian government-controlled area at the time they were violently dispersed with live fire, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
“The militants dispersed the demonstration, shooting at the protesters from a heavy machine gun and then mined all the approaches to the checkpoint and placed snipers on the roofs of nearby houses,” Konashenkov said, as quoted by Sputnik news agency.
“Seventeen people died at the site, including two teenagers of 13 and 15 years of age, over 40 people were wounded,” he added.
Upon quelling one of the rallies, militants launched a hunt for the presumed organizers of the protests, the ministry spokesman said.
“Terrorists detained about 10 men, who they held to be ‘organizers’ of the riots, and drove them away in an unknown direction. They were shot dead the same evening,” Konashenkov said.
On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry’s spokesman said that about 1,500 civilians had taken to the streets of eastern Aleppo to protest against the militants’ occupation. Unconfirmed footage has emerged online in which people can be seen chanting slogans and calling on the local council to take action against the rebel groups.
Tuesday’s demonstrations were also violently suppressed by the militants, who killed and injured dozens of people, Konashenkov said, citing intelligence.
Civilians in the rebel-held part of the city are believed to be held as human shields as the humanitarian situation and drastic food shortages worsen. The terrorists have mined the streets approaching the humanitarian corridors to prevent civilians from using them to leave and threaten to kill any who defy their orders.[Source: RT]