Last Friday, regime forces backed by Iranian militias and Russian air cover captured several positions overlooking the last road leading in and out of rebel-held east Aleppo, effectively “fire cutting” the route, a Civil Defense volunteer first responder told Syria Direct on Wednesday from east Aleppo.

But what does it mean to “fire cut” a road?

“An average of 150 strikes per day—including airstrikes, barrel bombs and artillery rounds—have hit the area around Castello Road over the past week,” Abu Fayez, a volunteer with the Syrian Civil Defense in east Aleppo, tells Syria Direct’s Osama Abu Zeid.

“This is a terrifyingly high number,” said Abu Fayez, adding that the area previously witnessed two or three airstrikes every few days. 

 A ground-to-ground missile strikes a truck travelling along the Castello Road on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Safwan Ahmed.

Rebel forces, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and Free Syrian Army units, attempted to dislodge regime forces from the Mallah farms, an area overlooking the Castello Road, on Tuesday, pro-opposition Ennab Baladi reported.

“Rebels were able to regain several positions near the road,” said Abu Fayez.

“But the route is still cut off.”

Q: Is the route leading to east Aleppo from the Castello area still closed?

Rebels were able to regain several positions near the road from the regime on Tuesday. However, the route is still cut off. Heavy shelling, a high rate of airstrikes and clashes in the area mean any attempt to traverse the Castello Road is suicide. In effect, this means that the 400,000 people living in east Aleppo are still under siege.

Q: Is the area being targeted by more shelling and airstrikes than other places?

The rate of shelling on the Castello Road area took off on July 7. An average of 150 strikes per day—including airstrikes, barrel bombs and artillery rounds—have hit the area around Castello Road over the past week. This is a terrifyingly high number given the area’s small size.

This is incomparable to the number of strikes in the time period before July 7, when the area was hit by two or three strikes every couple of days.