Residents in rebel-controlled east Aleppo – now down to a handful of neighbourhoods – say they fear retribution if they flee to government-held areas. Aisha, a mother of three children, is one of them. Last week, she and her family fled farther south in Aleppo when government forces took over her neighbourhood. Despite the bombings, weak utilities and sanitation, and depleting food supply, Aisha says she prefers to live in rebel areas. “We’re hearing about the army taking and arresting people, so I’m content to wait for a route to open so I can go to live with my family in the countryside,” she said. Hundreds of men from Aleppo went missing after entering government territory, including some of Aisha’s family members with whom she lost contact. After the military onslaught that began three weeks ago, the Syrian army is now controlling around 85 percent of previously rebel-held parts of east Aleppo. The UN and rebel sources say 100,000 people are now in east Aleppo, crammed into a handful of neighbourhoods that amount to around 15 percent of the area the rebels held three weeks ago.