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Thousands of civilians flee eastern Aleppo

Reporter: Alaa Ebrahim 丨 CCTV.com

12-11-2016 17:13 BJT

Thousands of Syrian civilians are fleeing eastern Aleppo, after government forces took control of almost all rebel-held areas in the city. 

Exhausted, terrified and uncertain of their future, this is how civilians coming out of Eastern Aleppo appeared as the army evacuated more than 700 persons from Bab AlHadid, the historic gate of Aleppo which is now part of an elusive frontline that changes hourly as the army charges ahead with increasing momentum.

The new arrivals had many stories to tell of the horror they experienced.

"Inside we suffered what no one can withstand, we weren't allowed to smoke so I used to roll up tree leaves and smoke them. When we got here, a soldier give me a pack of smokes. There was no bread, but now I am out and it will be fine," said Abu Adham, Aleppo resident.

"Recently we had to grind beans to make bread. The siege and the incessant shelling and fighting. There was no electricity no gas but I give my thanks now to god," said resident Salma.

For those fleeing the clashes, having luggage is a luxury they can't afford. But for some of them, some possessions are worth the risk. Ahmad took a chance with his life to get his bicycle out. The 12 years old boy should be in the third grade. But he hasn't been to school in four years

"My school was very nice but I haven't gone to school in years. We didn't have any bread. It was very difficult. There was so much shelling," said resident Ahmad Taybo.

Perhaps it is time for Ahmad to put the past behind him and to look towards the future.

But just meters from where civilians are leaving, the army is pressing ahead. We accompanied soldiers as they searched through rebel headquarters to find out some of the surprises the rebels left behind. 

"While we were clearing the area, residents told us that they saw militants coming out of this place, and we raided the place and found they dug a tunnel that heads to the citadel. The entrance is in a mosque for camouflage. And it seems they planned to booby-trap it, but didn't manage to do it in time," said Hassan Issa, Syrian army soldier.

The Syrian army has advanced to the point where they can now see the Aleppo citadel. Charred bodies lay on the streets. Posters on the ground are a stark reminder of who controlled this neighborhood earlier this year-- Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliates and the FSA.

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