Battles between the Syrian army and rebels in Aleppo have forced many terrified civilians to flee the city by perilous routes or take refuge in safer areas, a United Nations official said on Tuesday.
"Thousands of frightened residents are seeking shelter in schools, mosques and public buildings," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"These are people that haven't fled the city as they haven't had the means or feel it is too dangerous to make that journey and we are getting indications that the journey is fraught with armed gangs and road blocks blocking the way," she said.
About 7,000 have taken refuge in university dormitories and many more are camped out in 32 schools, each housing 250-350 people, Fleming told a news conference. Her figures suggest a total of 15,000 to 18,000 displaced within Aleppo.