BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army said on Wednesday it had cut off all supply routes into the eastern, rebel-held part of Aleppo a day after it invited armed groups to put down their weapons and texted residents to ask them to leave the city.
Once Syria’s largest city, Aleppo has been divided between rebel-controlled and government-held sectors for five years of the civil war. Taking full control of the city would be a significant victory for President Bashar al Assad.
An advance by pro-government forces around the only remaining supply route into the eastern sector this month enabled them to fire on it at close range, making the battlefront Castello road too deadly to use and putting at least 250,000 people in rebel-held districts under siege.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the eastern parts of Aleppo had been under effective siege since July 11, and advances in recent days by pro-government forces had strengthened their control of the only route in.
“Today there is no way at all to bring anything into Aleppo,” Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said.
Fighting persists across much of Syria after the failure of diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. The United Nations says it hopes to reconvene peace talks in August.