You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Syrian MP defends regime's actions in Aleppo

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 21/12/2016

© Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images A pro-regime MP for Aleppo, Fares Shehabi, is defending the Syrian government's approach to tackling terrorism within the country.

Government forces are hoping to soon take full control of the besieged city, following evacuations from the last rebel enclave in the east over the past few days.

More than 25,000 people are thought to have left so far.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took control of Aleppo today after the last batch of fighters was evacuated.

But a United Nations official said Aleppo evacuations are "still ongoing" and cannot confirm the last of the fighters have left.

People had been waiting in freezing temperatures since the evacuation hit problems earlier in the week, when dozens of buses were stuck in Aleppo and the evacuation of the two Shi'ite villages, al-Foua and Kefraya, also stalled.

Charity Save the Children said heavy snow was hampering aid efforts, but Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi told Morning Report that aid was being delivered on a daily basis.

Aleppo's rebel zone is a wasteland of flattened buildings, concrete rubble and bullet-pocked walls, where tens of thousands lived until recent days under intense bombardment even after medical and rescue services had collapsed.

Mr Shehabi said fighter jets have only been used on terrorist-held areas.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad sit on a tank as a convoy of buses and other vehicles bringing people out of eastern Aleppo turns back in the direction of the besieged rebel enclave. © REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad sit on a tank as a convoy of buses and other vehicles bringing people out of eastern Aleppo turns back in the direction of the besieged rebel enclave. "We allowed the civilians to leave. We opened safety corridors for them to leave. And then we targeted the remaining Al-Qaeda networks in eastern Aleppo," he said.

He rejected any reports from NATO-based media, saying they were biased and not credible.

"We do surgical operations and if we have done bombardment like they try to show us on TV we would have liberated eastern Aleppo three or four years ago," Mr Shehabi said.

"No one can teach us how to liberate our own people. The damage and the bombardment took place in 2012 when they conquered our city and they bombed all historical sites in our city including my own offices through explosive tunnels."

Mr Shehabi disputed reports that pro-regime forces had been bombing hospitals.

"We were not bombing hospitals, this is false. The only hospitals that were bombed were state government-built hospitals that they bombed with suicide car attacks, with explosives, with bombardment. They bombed the university hospital, they bombed more than 20 hospitals," said Mr Shehabi.

"When we find any field hospital, illegitimate hospital, illegal hospital for Al-Qaeda, we will bomb it. Definitely we will bomb it. What would you do? Would you send them roses?"

More From Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand
Radio New Zealand
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon