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Syria government issues text threats as civilians die in Aleppo

Some 20 civilians, including children, were killed across Syria as the government continued to make gains. Hundreds of thousands are cornered by the fighting between rival factions in Aleppo.

At least twelve people, including seven children, were killed in Syria on Sunday as the government continued its relentless campaign to retake rebel-held parts of the country's northern Kurdish region. A further eight were killed in Aleppo province as airstrikes hit Kurdish targets throughout the day, according to Kurdish security forces.

The carnage faced by civilians in Syria continued throughout the day, with state news agency SANA reporting that four people, including two women and one child, were killed in the west of Aleppo as the siege of the city showed no signs of coming to a conclusion.

A renewed offensive by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to recapture Aleppo has trapped around 275,000 Syrians in the middle of warring factions with no food or medicine since July. Although Russia offered to halt its airstrikes to allow rebels, and therefore civilians, to leave Aleppo, the opposition forces have refused to budge.

A UN attempt to negotiate the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged parts of the city was similarly unsuccessful.

Government texts civilians to flee

Residents have been further bombarded with conflicting information about safe routes out of the city. Over the weekend, a text message warning to leave the city with 24 hours was sent around to inhabitants who were unable to verify its authenticity, followed by a second message threatening attack.

 "Gunmen in east Aleppo, you have 24 hours only to take the decision to leave," the message said, then added "Those who want to save their lives must put down their weapons and their safety will be guaranteed. After the end of this period, the planned strategic offensive will begin."

The government has been known to drop leaflets and send text messages in order to communicate with the barricaded inhabitants of the city.

The Syrian conflict has claimed more than 300,000 lives since it began in March 2011. Many attempts at peace deals and ceasefires have fallen through, as the multi-sided nature of the conflict keeps it difficult for all belligerents to come to any agreement.

es/rc (AP, AFP)

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