World

Syrian troops tighten Aleppo siege, urge gunmen to give up

GENEVA — Syrian government forces on Tuesday called on opposition fighters in Aleppo to drop their weapons and surrender to authorities as they captured new ground on the northwestern edge of the city, tightening the siege on rebel-held parts of the metropolis where some 300,000 people live, activists said.

The push in which troops captured large parts of the city’s Layramoun area came as state TV reported that the General Army Command informed residents of rebel-held parts of Aleppo via text messages that the army has created several safe passages and makeshift centers for whoever wants to leave those areas.

The military warning comes days after the army fully encircled Aleppo, setting the stage for a prolonged siege aimed at eventually forcing the surrender of rebels holed up in the eastern parts of the city. Once Syria’s thriving commercial center, Aleppo has been divided since 2012 between government- and rebel-controlled districts.

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Dozens of people have been killed in the past few weeks amid intense fighting.

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United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council Monday that Aleppo risks becoming the largest besieged area in the country. Food supplies are expected to run out in mid-August and many medical facilities continue to be attacked, he added.

In Geneva, the UN envoy for Syria said he aims to call a new round of talks between government and opposition envoys in Geneva ‘‘toward the end of August.’’

Staffan de Mistura said he wants to see the outcome of steps agreed upon in Moscow last week between the United States and Russia, in order ‘‘to make these talks particularly fruitful and hopeful’’ before setting a precise date.

Associated Press