MANILA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government assured assistance to residents in areas being hit by tropical storm Nida, locally named Carina, which made landfall in northern province of Cagayan Sunday afternoon.

Nida, which made a landfall over Cabutunan Point in Cagayan province at 1:20 p.m. local time, is packing maximum sustained winds of up to 95 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 120 kph.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, in an interview over a state-run radio station, said that some 30,000 food packs are prepositioned in Region 1 or Ilocos Region, and 1,900 in Region 8 or Eastern Visayas.

He cautioned residents in low-lying areas especially those on the eastern and northern seaboards of the country as tropical storm Nida intensifies.

He urged fisherfolk to delay going to sea as precaution.

The weather disturbance is bringing moderate to heavy rainfall that poses danger and the threats of flooding and storm surge, the official added.

Some areas in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela lost their power supply due to the weather disturbance, he said, quoting the energy department.

The tropical storm is expected to be outside the Philippines by Tuesday morning. Enditem


DAMASCUS, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Syrian helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday, urging rebels to lay down their weapons and the civilians to cooperate with the Syrian army.

"Aleppo is winning: to all those holding weapons in the face of the Syrian state, you have got to seriously think about your fate, as many of your leaders have fled with their money to Turkey," the leaflet read.

"Don't risk yourself, it's your decision, you don't have much time left," it continued.

Another leaflet was directed to the civilians.

"Our dear families in Aleppo, your sons and brothers in the Syrian army are sacrificing to rid you of the terrorism. Your cooperation with the army in terms of providing information about the location of the armed men will be conducive in returning security and stability to your areas," the leaflet read.

Earlier in the day, the army empathized on urging the rebels in Aleppo city to surrender, saying it's a "real chance."

"Emanating from our keenness to curb the bloodletting, we grant a real opportunity to all those who hold weapons in Aleppo's eastern part to settle their situation by laying down their weapons and stay in Aleppo, or to surrender their weapons and leave the city," the general command of the Syrian army said in a statement carried by state-run SANA news agency.

"We urge everyone to have a prudence and put the national interest of restoring peace and security to Aleppo above anything else," it added.

The move comes as the Syrian army has completely laid a siege on the rebel-held parts in east of Aleppo city, after severing the last remaining supply route to those areas last week.

In the statement, the army said it had succeeded with the help of allied fighters to successfully complete their mission in northern Aleppo, by cutting all of the supply routes the rebels used.

It added that the military campaign came in the framework of restoring peace and stability to Aleppo.

The statement also urged the civilians to cooperate with the Syrian army in achieving a cessation of violence, and a return of tranquility to Aleppo.

A day earlier, the Syrian army offered safe exits to civilians in the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.

The military's general command said the army had identified several routes and safe passages for civilians wishing to leave the rebel-held neighborhoods in the eastern parts of Aleppo, adding that maps of the routes were being sent to the cellphones of the civilians.

It urged the civilians in the areas to join the government-proposed reconciliations and expel the rebels out of their homes and neighborhoods.

Aleppo, located near the borders with Turkey, is Syria's largest city and once an economic hub. It has been a focal point of clashes between the Syrian army and the rebels.

In the summer of 2012, thousands of armed militants stormed residential districts of Aleppo, striking the economic nerves of the Syrian government, which has repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting the rebels.

After capturing several districts in eastern Aleppo city, the rebels repeatedly tried to expand their presence to government-controlled areas in the west.

They laid a siege on western Aleppo districts after cutting the international road to Aleppo in 2014, which was broken later by the Syrian army with the help of Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said during an interview with a Greek TV that if the rebels wanted to "return to their normal lives, and abandon their weapons, they will get pardon."

"Pardon is a good option, I think, to help those people who held weapons for different reasons," he said. Enditem

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