Syrian rebels disperse food protest with gunfire

July 10, 2013 14:35
1 minute read.

BEIRUT - Syrian rebels fired into the air to disperse a protest by civilians in a rebel-held district of Aleppo against a blockade preventing food and medicine reaching government-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo, residents said on Wednesday.

Rebel fighters have stopped supplies entering western Aleppo for weeks. The tactic is aimed at weakening the supply routes of President Bashar Assad's forces but thousands of civilians are now left hungry, residents say.

Video footage posted on the Internet on Tuesday showed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al-Qasr protesting at a rebel checkpoint which prevents supplies from entering the western part of the city, home to 2 million people and held by the army.

Although insurgents and the army control different parts of the country, civilians are normally allowed to cross freely to shop or meet family members and friends.

The footage, posted by the opposition Bustan al-Qasr Information Office, showed men at the protest chanting, "the people want an end to the blockade." A rebel fighter brandishes a pistol and then a gunshot is heard as the video ends.

An opposition activist group called the Aleppo Martyrs said rebels fired at the protesters, killing one person and wounding several others. But a resident at the protest said the man was killed prior to the protest by army sniper fire as he tried the cross between rebel and government-held territory.

Reuters was not able to confirm the report due to media and security restrictions in Syria.

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