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Families sell up to flee Aleppo as fears mount of fresh siege

Russian air strikes kill 25 civilians in a southern suburb of Aleppo as residents tell MEE they have given up everything in attempt to leave city
Rubble blocks key routes into Aleppo city (MEE/Zoher Ma)

Families were trying to flee Aleppo on Monday amid concerns that a vital supply route could be cut as the Syrian government made advances from the south in a new offensive.

Aleppo residents told Middle East Eye they planned to sell their homes to raise money needed to flee after enduring food shortages and barrel bombs for too long.

The northern Syrian city has been the subject of siege and counter-siege in the five years of the Syrian war, and its population has dwindled from its original millions.

"When the government siege was in place we struggled every day to get food," said one resident identified as Sahar. "The days of siege were brutal to my family and don't deserve to be given such a fate."

Sahar's father also told MEE that the family had sold anything they could not carry to raise money needed to get out.

Jamela, whose husband died during a recent government offensive, said she was leaving after hearing reports of a new siege on a crucial supply route into Aleppo. 

Living with her four children, Jamela told MEE how she had no means to survive.

"All kind of bombs and weaponry has fallen from the sky," said Jamela. "My kids can lose their lives at any time and losing their dad was bad enough."

News of families wanting to flee the city comes as local media outlets report dozens of civilians being killed in the south of the city as fighting continues between rebel groups and the Syrian government. 

Al-Jazeera Arabic said that Russian air strikes had killed 25 people in the Hay al-Sakari suburb in the south of the city.  

Earlier this morning, the Aleppo media agency reported that a building belonging to the Syrian Civil Defence Force, otherwise known as the White Helmets, had also been hit in a Russian bombing run.

0manar Abu Mohammed, a volunteer with the White Helmets, was also killed in the besieged town of Daraya according to the UK-based Syria Campaign.

The campaign said in a statement that Mohammed had died while bringing water to one of the families in besieged Daraya. According to the group, he was killed when a government sniper shot him in the heart.

He was a water delivery man before joining the White Helmets.

Meanwhile, the UN has said it is ready to move in 50 trucks of supplies and aid into eastern Aleppo, but were waiting for security assurances from all sides involved in the battle.

Stephen O'Brien, the under secretary for UN humanitarian affairs, told the security council that Aleppo had become the "apex of horror". 

"Medical evacuations are not a question of politics but of basic humanity and that includes delivery of aid into besieged areas," he said.

O'Brien also renewed UN calls for a 48-hour humanitarian window for aid to be delivered and told the council that "now is the time to put our politics aside and put this humanitarian shame to rest".

Additional reporting by Zouhir Al Shimale.

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