In Syria on Monday, thousands fled Aleppo, after government forces recaptured large portions of the city from rebel fighters. It could be a turning point in Syria’s five-and-a-half-year-old civil war.
Three months of non-stop shelling and bombing finally paid off for Syria’s army, its allies and its Russian backers. Troops punched into rebel-held eastern Aleppo over the weekend and now control 40 percent of the territory held by the opposition since 2012.
All day, civilians have been streaming out of the battle zone.
On Monday, regime and Russian soldiers, who for weeks have been attacking their homes, instead offered the refugees bus transport away from danger, and desperately needed food.
Fatima Akil says she hasn’t eaten for three days -- not even bread.
Another woman fled with her dead mother in a wheelchair.
“My mother died of hunger,” the woman said. “We’ve had very little to eat or drink for five months.”
As the Syrian army and its allies continue to press forward, hoping to bring the whole of Aleppo under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there’s no solid information on how many people have escaped into government territory.
But it’s a fraction of eastern Aleppo’s roughly 200,000 people.
There are reports that many of them are fleeing the Syrian army’s offensive and heading deeper into rebel territory, which means there’s more fighting and bloodshed ahead.