Aleppo residents call for lifting of Syrian rebel siege

Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo.

Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo who have blockaded food routes to the city.

Dozens of Syrians in Aleppo have staged protests against a rebel siege of government-held areas in the city, residents have said. Rebels stopped supplies from entering western parts of the city in a bid to weaken the supply routes for President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, they add. They say the blockade has led to severe food and medicine shortages.

The World Health Organization has urged Syrians to protect a convoy carrying medical supplies to the city. One protester was reportedly shot dead at a demonstration on Tuesday, according to the UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The group says it was not clear whether the man was shot by rebels trying to disperse the protest or killed by army sniper fire, as some civilians claimed.

Amateur footage uploaded onto YouTube shows dozens of men in civilian dress purportedly protesting at a checkpoint in the rebel-held district of Bustan al-Qasr, chanting: “The people want an end to the blockade.” The protest is disrupted by several men in black, one carrying a gun, followed by the sound of gunfire. Many Aleppo residents are angered by the rebel blockade, which has created shortages of basics such as bread and flour, and hiked up food prices in several neighbourhoods at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan.

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