Syrian media said gunfire exchanges are deterring the estimated 2.50 lakh Aleppo residents from using the exit corridors declared opened by the Syrian Army, as part of a unilateral ceasefire announced on Thursday, according to an AFP report. Syrian Army announced the opening of the corridors for three days to allow people and rebel fighters to leave the war-torn region, Reuters reported.
State media said exit corridors have been opened in the Bustan al Qasr quarter and near the Castello road in northern Aleppo city. The move has been backed by Russia but rejected by rebels, who said they would increase a counter-offensive in the region. The "humanitarian pause" was targeted by "terrorist groups", AFP quoted state news agency Sana. The army has accused rebels of using civilians as shields against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military.
Lebanese news channel Mayadeen aired footage that included an army loudspeaker message that said, "We guarantee a safe exit. Seize the opportunity and save your families." The announcement asked the rebels to drop their weapons as this was their "last chance". The United Nations had said it needed “assurances from all parties” that the eight-hour-long ceasefire on Thursday would be respected.
Reuters reported at least one civilian death and several injuries during a car blast near the Turkish border, in Azaz, an area dominated by Turkish-backed rebels fighting Islamic State militants. Violence in the region intensified after the September 9 ceasefire between the pro-Assad and rebel camps was called off after an aid convoy was bombed in north Aleppo. More than 3,00,000 people have died in the six-year-long civil war, and nearly half the country’s population forced to flee since it began. While the United States supports rebel groups, Moscow is seen as a key Assad ally.